Biomarkers are the measurable changes associated with physiological or pathophysiological processes. Urine, unlike blood, lacks mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis: it is therefore an ideal source of biomarkers that can reflect systemic changes. Urinary proteome and metabolome have been studied for their diagnostic capabilities, ability to monitor disease and prognostic utility. In this review, the effects of common physiological conditions such as gender, age, diet, daily rhythms, exercise, hormone status, lifestyle and extreme environments on human urine are discussed. These effects should be considered when biomarker studies of diseases are conducted. More importantly, if physiological changes can be reflected in urine, we have reason to expect that urine will become widely used to detect small and early changes in pathological and/or pharmacological conditions.
Keywords: biomarker; metabolomics; physiological conditions; proteomics; urine.