Metabolomics in toxicology and preclinical research

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Tzutzuy Ramirez
Mardas Daneshian
Hennicke Kamp
Frederic Y. Bois
Malcolm R. Clench
Muireann Coen
Beth Donley
Steven M. Fischer
Drew R. Ekman
Eric Fabian
Claude Guillou
Joachim Heuer
Helena T. Hogberg
Harald Jungnickel
Hector C. Keun
Gerhard Krennrich
Eckart Krupp
Andreas Luch
Fozia Noor
Erik Peter
Bjoern Riefke
Mark Seymour
Nigel Skinner
Lena Smirnova
Elwin Verheij
Silvia Wagner
Thomas Hartung
Bennard van Ravenzwaay
Marcel Leist


Metabolomics, the comprehensive analysis of metabolites in a biological system, provides detailed information about the biochemical/physiological status of a biological system, and about the changes caused by chemicals. Metabolomics analysis is used in many fields, ranging from the analysis of the physiological status of genetically modified organisms in safety science to the evaluation of human health conditions. In toxicology, metabolomics is the -omics discipline that is most closely related to classical knowledge of disturbed biochemical pathways. It allows rapid identification of the potential targets of a hazardous compound. It can give information on target organs and often can help to improve our understanding regarding the mode-of-action of a given compound. Such insights aid the discovery of biomarkers that either indicate pathophysiological conditions or help the monitoring of the efficacy of drug therapies. The first toxicological applications of metabolomics were for mechanistic research, but different ways to use the technology in a regulatory context are being explored. Ideally, further progress in that direction will position the metabolomics approach to address the challenges of toxicology of the 21st century. To address these issues, scientists from academia, industry, and regulatory bodies came together in a workshop to discuss the current status of applied metabolomics and its potential in the safety assessment of compounds. We report here on the conclusions of three working groups addressing questions regarding 1) metabolomics for in vitro studies 2) the appropriate use of metabolomics in systems toxicology, and 3) use of metabolomics in a regulatory context.

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Ramirez, T., Daneshian, M., Kamp, H., Bois, F. Y., Clench, M. R., Coen, M., Donley, B., Fischer, S. M., Ekman, D. R., Fabian, E., Guillou, C., Heuer, J., Hogberg, H. T., Jungnickel, H., Keun, H. C., Krennrich, G., Krupp, E., Luch, A., Noor, F., Peter, E., Riefke, B., Seymour, M., Skinner, N., Smirnova, L., Verheij, E., Wagner, S., Hartung, T., van Ravenzwaay, B. and Leist, M. (2013) “Metabolomics in toxicology and preclinical research”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 30(2), pp. 209–225. doi: 10.14573/altex.2013.2.209.

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