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Applications | Endocrinology


Explore the intricacies of endocrinology and the complex networks of hormone signaling using metabolomics. This approach provides a deeper understanding of hormonal interactions and their physiological effects.

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Featured Endocrinology Resources

Infectious Disease and Metabolomics

Metabolomics in Endocrinology

The field of endocrinology has a profound impact on various medical research areas including diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, and infertility. Endocrinology is at the intersection of many public health concerns, due to the systemic impact of hormones and their effect on homeostasis within the body. Because of this impact, endocrinology research faces numerous challenges, primarily stemming from the intricate and interconnected nature of hormonal regulation in the human body. The traditional methodologies employed in this field often involve isolated assessments of individual hormones, which fail to capture the dynamic and complex interactions within the endocrine system. Additionally, the variability in hormone levels across individuals and the influence of external factors make it challenging to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing endocrine processes. Such limitations hinder the development of precise diagnostic tools and targeted therapeutic interventions for endocrine disorders, necessitating a more holistic approach to unravel the intricacies of hormonal regulation.

Metabolomics offers additional insights into endocrinology research. By comprehensively analyzing the  biochemicals present in biological samples, metabolomics provides a global snapshot of  physiology. This enables researchers to uncover subtle changes in pathways associated with endocrine function,  elucidating the web of interactions that govern hormone regulation. Metabolomic approaches facilitate the identification of biomarkers indicative of endocrine disorders,  novel therapeutic targets and more accurate diagnostics. The integration of metabolomics with other omics technologies enhances the ability to unravel the complexities of hormone signaling networks, paving the way for innovative advancements in understanding the molecular basis of these disorders, resulting in more effective clinical practices.

Infectious Disease

Uncover Functional, Actionable Insights with Metabolomics

​Fully understanding the endocrine system requires an effective means to capture and measure complex interactions between hormones and other molecules in the body. Metabolon can help researchers characterize these interactions through a comprehensive analysis of metabolites and metabolic pathways. Researchers can uncover disease mechanisms and novel biomarkers using a combination of global and targeted metabolite panels.

Understanding Hormone Metabolism
Biomarker Discovery
Disease Mechanisms

Understanding Hormone Metabolism

Metabolomics helps in studying the synthesis, degradation, and excretion of hormones. It provides insights into the metabolic pathways involved in hormone production and breakdown. For example, metabolomics helps us understand how steroid hormones are synthesized from cholesterol and how they are further metabolized, influencing key biological functions.

​Storbeck K, Schiffer L, Baranowski ES, et al. Steroid Metabolome Analysis in Disorders of Adrenal Steroid Biosynthesis and Metabolism, Endocr Rev. 2019;40(6):1605-1625. doi:10.1210/er.2018-00262.

Biomarker Discovery

Metabolomics enables the identification of metabolic markers associated with endocrine disorders. By analyzing the metabolite profiles in biological samples (such as blood, urine, or tissue), researchers can identify specific molecular profiles that indicate the presence or progression of endocrine-related conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, or metabolic syndrome. Diabetes, for example, is diagnosed based on the presence of the metabolite glucose in the blood. Metabolomics analysis points to other metabolites that are involved in the mechanisms behind insulin resistance and disease etiology.

Liu Y, Gan L, Zhao B, et al. Untargeted metabolomic profiling identifies serum metabolites associated with type 2 diabetes in a cross-sectional study of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study.  Am Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2022;324(2):E167-E175. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00287.2022

Disease Mechanisms

Metabolomics can reveal the molecular mechanisms behind endocrine diseases. By mapping out the intricate metabolic pathways and interactions, researchers gain a deeper understanding of disease progression, potentially leading to the development of targeted therapies. In a study of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), metabolomics was integrated with  genomics data to reveal mechanisms of disease pathogenesis.

Sun S, Jiao M, Han C, et al. Causal Effects of Genetically Determined Metabolites on Risk of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Front Endocrinol. 2020;11:621. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2020.00621

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Metabolomics Applications for Endocrinology Research

  • EUnderstanding of hormone synthesis
  • EUnderstanding of hormone metabolism
  • EBiomarker discovery
  • ECharacterize disease progression
  • EReveal molecular mechanisms of disease
  • EDrug discovery and development
  • EPrecision medicine research
  • EIdentify genome-metabolite associations
  • EDisease diagnostics research
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“Metabolomics requires balanced use of state-of-the-art study design, chemical analytics, biostatistics, and bioinformatics to deliver meaningful answers to contemporary questions in human disease research. The technology is now frequently employed for biomarker discovery and for elucidating the mechanisms underlying endocrine-related diseases.”

Tokarz J, Haid M, Cecil A, et al.
Endocrinology Meets Metabolomics: Achievements, Pitfalls, and Challenges. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017;28(10):705-721. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2017.07.001

Unraveling the metabolic impacts of type 2 diabetes with metabolomics analysis of a large population-based cohort

The endocrine system plays a critical role in regulating metabolism and is significantly impacted by diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by insufficient insulin production, insulin resistance, or both. With two subtypes (type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes), diabetes is a complex, phenotypically heterogeneous disease, and we don’t yet have a complete picture of the metabolites and metabolic pathways that are impacted by this disease. Type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects the vast majority of diabetic individuals and can be caused by lifestyle factors, hormonal diseases, and genetic components. This complex etiology suggests that metabolomics, through its ability to profile hundreds to thousands of metabolites from a single sample, can help researchers elucidate the metabolic and endocrine impacts of this disease. Most studies, however, have utilized methods that measure only a few hundred metabolites. Analysis techniques measuring a broader array of metabolites are necessary to identify novel disease-metabolite associations and advanced drug discovery and development efforts.

endocrinology metabolomics

Figure 1. Manhattan plot for significant associations between 74 serum metabolites and T2D. Eight classes of metabolites are shown in different colors (see legend). Red dashed line = Bonferroni-corrected threshold of significance.

Using Metabolon’s Global Discovery Platform, which measures over 5400 metabolites, researchers profiled serum metabolomes of over 4000 male participants in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study. They identified over 1400 metabolites, 74 of which were significantly associated with T2D.  In particular, carbohydrate, amino acid, and lipid biochemical pathways were heavily represented in this cohort, and mannose was identified as a potential early biomarker for insulin resistance. This study highlights the importance of using large-scale metabolomics analysis to gain greater understanding into the etiology of endocrine-related disorders like diabetes so that more effective interventions can be developed.

Yuzhao Liu, Lu Gan, Bin Zhao. et al. Untargeted metabolomic profiling identifies serum metabolites associated withtype 2 diabetes in a cross-sectional study of the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 324: E167–E175, 2023.

Endocrinology Publications and Citations

Metabolon has contributed extensively to publications ranging from basic research to clinical trials.

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