Difference Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics

Main Difference – Metabolomics vs Metabonomics

Metabolism refers to a collection of biochemical transformations that occur in living organisms. The complete set of metabolites in a living organism is known as the metabolome. Metabolomics and metabonomics are two types of closely-related studies of the metabolome. Both metabolomics and metabonomics are quantitative studies. The main difference between metabolomics and metabonomics is that metabolomics is the study of the metabolome whereas metabonomics is the study of the multiparametric metabolic responses of a particular living organism to pathogenic stimuli or genetic modification. The detection and analysis of metabolites of a particular organism are done by NMR spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy (MS).

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Metabolomics
     – Definition, Analysis, Role
2. What is Metabonomics
     – Definition, Analysis, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Mass Spectroscopy, Metabolites, Metabolome, Metabolomics, Metabonomics, NMR Spectroscopy

Difference Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics - Comparison Summary

What is Metabolomics

Metabolomics refers to a scientific study of the set of metabolites present within a cell, tissue, or organism. In metabolomics, the concentrations and the locations of all metabolites (metabolome) in a cell is examined. As an example, it quantifies the number of enzymes in a cell. NMR spectrometry is the main technique involved in metabolites. NMR spectrometry is involved in the non-destructive examination of biological fluids or intact tissues. The basic scheme of metabolomics is shown in figure 1.

Difference Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics

Figure 1: Metabolomics Scheme

The four main approaches of metabolomics are target analysis, metabolite profiling, metabolomics, and metabolomics fingerprinting. Target analysis is involved in the determination and quantification of metabolites. Metabolite profiling is the study of a large set of metabolites. Metabolomics is the analysis of metabolites by various separation and quantification techniques. Metabolomics fingerprinting is the use of the signature or the mass profile of a particular organism to compare with a large population.

What is Metabonomics

Metabonomics refers to the quantitative measurement of the multiparametric metabolic responses of living systems to patho-physiological stimuli or genetic modification. It is a subset of metabolomics. The chronic exposure to a toxin or the metabolites that are the makers of a particular disease can be identified in metabonomics. The altered metabolism of a cell by cholera toxin is shown in figure 2.

Main Difference -  Metabolomics vs  Metabonomics

Figure 2: Altered Metabolism by Cholera Toxin

High-throughput techniques such as mass spectroscopy are used in metabonomics to analyze both intracellular molecules and extracellular biofluids. The ionized chemicals are recognized based on the mass-to-charge ratio in mass spectroscopy. Metabonomics is mainly involved in the determination of the change in the metabolites under altered conditions.

Similarities Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics

  • Metabolomics and metabonomics are two types of studies of metabolites of a particular organism.
  • NMR spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy are involved in the detection and analysis of metabolites.

Difference Between Metabolomics and Metabonomics

Definition

Metabolomics: Metabolomics refers to a scientific study of the set of metabolites present within a cell, tissue or organism.

Metabonomics: Metabonomics refers to the quantitative measurement of the multiparametric metabolic responses of living systems to patho-physiological stimuli or genetic modification.

Significance

Metabolomics: Metabolomics is the study of biochemical profiles of a particular living organism.

Metabonomics: Metabonomics is the study of metabolic responses of an organism to external stimuli.

Correlation

Metabolomics: Metabolomics is the study of the metabolome of a particular organism.

Metabonomics: Metabolomics is the subset of metabolomics.

Uses

Metabolomics: Metabolomics is used in functional genomics to determine the phenotype.

Metabonomics: Metabonomics is used in toxicology and disease diagnosis.

Techniques

Metabolomics: NMR spectroscopy is more involved in metabolomics.

Metabonomics: Mass spectroscopy is more involved in metabonomics.

Conclusion

Metabolomics and metabonomics are two types of studies about the metabolome of a particular organism. Metabolomics is involved in the analysis of the biochemical profiles of the organism under normal conditions. However, metabonomics is involved in the analysis of the biochemical profile of a particular organism under diseased conditions or genetic modifications. Therefore the main difference between metabolomics and metabonomics is the type of conditions used in the study of the metabolome.

Reference:

1. “What is metabolomics all about?”, Biotechniques. Available here.
2. Ramsden, Jeremy J. “Metabolomics and Metabonomics.” SpringerLink, Springer, London, 1 Jan. 1970, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Metabolomics schema” By Lmaps (talk) (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia 
2. “Cholera toxin” By Jessica Brochu – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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