Metabolomics in Diabetic Kidney Disease: Unraveling the Biochemistry of a Silent Killer

Am J Nephrol. 2016;44(2):92-103. doi: 10.1159/000447954. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


The development of new therapies for chronic diseases, such as diabetic kidney disease (DKD), will continue to be hampered by lack of sufficient biomarkers that will provide insights and will be responsive to treatment interventions. The recent application of metabolomic technologies, such as nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy, has allowed large-scale analysis of small molecules to be interrogated in a targeted or untargeted manner. Recent advances from both human and animal studies that have arisen from metabolomic analysis have recognized that mitochondrial function and fatty acid oxidation play key roles in the development and progression of DKD. Although many challenges in the technology for clinical chronic kidney disease (CKD) are yet to be validated, there will very likely be ongoing major contributions of metabolomics to develop new biochemical understanding for diabetic and CKD. The clinical application of metabolomics and accompanying bioinformatic tools will likely be a cornerstone of personalized medicine triumphs for CKD.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / diagnosis*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Urea / metabolism


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids
  • Urea