Non-targeted metabolomics in sport and exercise science
journal contributionposted on 27.03.2017, 10:54 by Liam M. Heaney, Kevin Deighton, Toru Suzuki
Metabolomics incorporates the study of metabolites that are produced and released through physiological processes at both the systemic and cellular level. Biological compounds at the metabolite level are of paramount interest in the sport and exercise sciences, although research in this field has rarely been referred to with the global ‘omics terminology. Commonly studied metabolites in exercise science are notably within cellular pathways for ATP production such as glycolysis (e.g. pyruvate and lactate), β-oxidation of free fatty acids (e.g. palmitate) and ketone bodies (e.g. β-hydroxybutyrate). Non-targeted metabolomic technologies are able to simultaneously analyse the large numbers of metabolites present in human biological samples such as plasma, urine and saliva. These analytical technologies predominately employ nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Performing experiments based on non-targeted methods allows for systemic metabolite changes to be analysed and compared to a particular physiological state (e.g. pre/post-exercise) and provides an opportunity to prospect for metabolite signatures that offer beneficial information for translation into an exercise science context, for both elite performance and public health monitoring. This narrative review provides an introduction to non-targeted metabolomic technologies and discusses current and potential applications in sport and exercise science.