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Mass spectrometry-based fecal metabolome analysis

Xu, Jing, Zhang, Qin-Feng, Zheng, Jie, Yuan, Bi-Feng, Feng, Yu-Qi
Trends in analytical chemistry 2019 v.112 pp. 161-174
absorption, capillary electrophoresis, carcinogenesis, diet, digestion, feces, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, homeostasis, human health, human physiology, humans, ingestion, intestinal microorganisms, intestines, lifestyle, liquid chromatography, metabolites, metabolome, metabolomics, symbiosis
The past decade has witnessed remarkable progress in our understanding of the important roles that gut microbial metabolites play in modulating the human health. The dynamic interplay between the host and gut microbiota is critical for maintaining the host homeostasis. The gut microbial metabolites are increasingly being recognized as an important part of human physiology. The symbiosis between human and gut microbiota relies on the communications with metabolites acting as the important mediators. Analysis of gut microbial metabolites is essential to understand the molecular mechanisms of the interaction between the host and gut microbiota. Feces contain a wide array of metabolites that may reflect the results of nutrient ingestion, digestion and absorption by gut microbiota and the gastrointestinal tract. Analysis of fecal metabolites therefore can provide a non-invasive manner to study the outcome of the host-gut microbiota interactions. It is evident that mass spectrometry (MS)-based fecal metabolome analysis is rapidly growing and covers a broad investigation on the functional roles of microbial metabolites with tumorigenesis, gut microflora activity, diet, lifestyle, and intestinal physiology. In the past several years, considerable advances have been made in the development of MS-based analytical methods to decipher the fecal metabolome. In this review, we discuss the current practices for processing fecal samples for metabolomics study. And we summarize the MS-based methods with focus on the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) that are commonly applied to assess the fecal metabolome. We hope this review can benefit the investigation of the functions of gut microbial metabolites and promote the translation of fecal metabolomics into clinical applications.