Metabolomics study of diabetic retinopathy using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry: a comparison of stages and subtypes diagnosed by Western and Chinese medicine

Mol Biosyst. 2011 Jul;7(7):2228-37. doi: 10.1039/c0mb00341g. Epub 2011 May 11.


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a serious microvascular syndrome of diabetes, and is one of the most frequent causes of blindness in the world. It has three progressive stages with complex metabolic deregulations in the holistic system of Western medicine. Chinese medicine classifies DR into two different syndrome types; integrating Western and Chinese medicine to treat DR is a validated therapeutic approach in China. In this research, the systemic metabolite change of DR was investigated from the viewpoint of both Western and Chinese medicine, using metabolomics based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The data revealed both perspectives can reflect the metabolic patterns, development and differentiation of DR, and the data also had good correlation and complementarity in characterizing the process of DR. Potential biomarkers of DR based on the two perspectives indicated the alterative modes of metabolites and metabolic pathways in the disease, e.g. the disturbance in fatty acids, amino acids and glucose, etc. The results showed the usefulness and validity of combining both Western and Chinese medicine to study the subtypes of DR and the mechanisms involved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Demography
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / classification
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological


  • Biomarkers