Publication date: Jul 25, 2019
The human gut microbiota is a functioning endocrine organ and stands at the intersection between dietary components and health or disease. There are tons of microbial metabolites with numerous structures and functions arising from the gut microbial fermentation of foods and become signals for biological communication in the human body. These small molecules can be absorbed and delivered to distant organs through circulatory system to build the gut-systemic axis. The gut microbial metabolomes are thus believed to play important roles in regulating cardiometabolic health and provide opportunities in the mechanistic research and new drug discovery. Measurement of these novel microbial metabolites in clinical samples may serve as a tool to investigate disease biomarkers. In the past decade, the development of untargeted and targeted metabolomics approaches by using NMR, LC-MS, and GC-MS have contributed to the exploration of gut microbial metabolome in cardiometabolic health and disease. Some important targets are currently being translated into clinical applications. In this review article, we introduced an oral carnitine challenge test developed as an example to demonstrate the potential applications in personalized nutrition based on the function of gut microbiota. It is a method taking the gut microbiota as a bioreactor and provides with fermentable materials as inputs and measures the outputs of targeted microbial byproducts in the blood or urine. This challenge test may be extended to measure metabolites from microbial fermentation related to other endocrinological or inflammatory diseases. In this paper, we reviewed current gut metabolome research approaches and proposed a gut microbial functional measurement by using a challenge test. We wish the maturation in measuring gut microbial metabolites may provide an important piece to complete the puzzle of precision medicine.
Wu, W.K., Hsu, C.C., Sheen, L.Y., and Wu. Measurement of gut microbial metabolites in cardiometabolic health and translational research. 05067. 2019 Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom.