Emerging Insights into the Metabolic Alterations in Aging Using Metabolomics
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Metabolomics is the latest ‘omics’ technology and systems biology science that allows for comprehensive profiling of small-molecule metabolites in biological systems at a specific time and condition. Metabolites are cellular intermediate products of metabolic reactions, which reflect the ultimate response to genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic, or environmental changes in a biological system. Aging is a complex biological process that is characterized by a gradual and progressive decline in molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal functions, and it is influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, diet, and lifestyle factors. The precise biological mechanisms of aging remain unknown. Metabolomics has emerged as a powerful tool to characterize the organism phenotypes, identify altered metabolites, pathways, novel biomarkers in aging and disease, and offers wide clinical applications. Here, I will provide a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge on metabolomics led studies in aging with particular emphasis on studies leading to biomarker discovery. Based on the data obtained from model organisms and humans, it is evident that metabolites associated with amino acids, lipids, carbohydrate, and redox metabolism may serve as biomarkers of aging and/or longevity. Current challenges and key questions that should be addressed in the future to advance our understanding of the biological mechanisms of aging are discussed.