The ‘exposome’represents the accumulation of all environmental exposures across a lifetime. Top-down strategies are required to assess something this comprehensive, and could transform our understanding of how environmental factors affect human health.
Metabolic profiling (metabonomics/metabolomics) defines an individual’s metabolic phenotype, which is influenced by genotype, diet, lifestyle, health and xenobiotic exposure, and could also reveal intermediate biomarkers for disease risk that reflect adaptive response to exposure. We investigated changes in metabolism in volunteers living near a point source of environmental pollution: a closed zinc smelter with associated elevated levels of environmental cadmium.
High-resolution 1H NMR spectroscopy (metabonomics) was used to acquire urinary metabolic profiles from 178 human volunteers.
The spectral data were subjected to multivariate and univariate analysis to identify metabolites that were correlated with lifestyle or biological factors. Urinary levels of 8-oxo deoxyguanosine were also measured, using mass spectrometry, as a marker of systemic oxidative stress.