Metabolomics: Towards understanding host-microbe interactions

Jun Han, L. Caetano M. Antunes, B. Brett Finlay, Christoph H. Borchers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolomics employs an array of analytical techniques, including high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, to simultaneously analyze hundreds to thousands of small-molecule metabolites in biological samples. In conjunction with chemoinformatics and bioinformatics tools, metabolomics enables comprehensive characterization of the metabolic phenotypes (metabotypes) of the human, and other mammalian, hosts that have co-evolved with a large number of diverse commensal microbes, especially in the intestinal tract. Correlation of the metabotypes with the microbial profiles derived from culture-independent molecular techniques is increasingly helping to decipher inherent and intimate host-microbe relationships. This integrated, systems biology approach is improving our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying multilevel host-microbe interactions, and promises to elucidate the etiologies of human disorders resulting from unfavorable human-microbial associations, including enteric infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Gut microbiota
  • Hostmicrobe interaction
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbial profiling
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy


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