We use metabolomics and proteomics to discover molecular and protein indicators, which show that a biological system has undergone a perturbation.

The challenge

A global, highly-contagious disease

Use of metabolomics and proteomics can provide early warning that this perturbation has occurred well before any visible changes have manifested, and can be applied across a broad range of areas from disease diagnostics to environmental contaminant exposures.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that causes high global morbidity and mortality each year. The understanding of the dynamics of an influenza infection on the host metabolism, and how metabolism is altered in response to neuraminidase inhibitor drug therapy, is still in its infancy but of great importance.

Our response

A unique approach

We have undertaken an untargeted metabolomics approach in ferret models to investigate the effects on the whole-of-organism metabolism. This allows us to get a highly detailed look at the changes in the small molecule fingerprint with and without perturbation by influenza and drug treatment.

The results

Intervention seeks out early diagnosis

The drug treatment, a neuraminidase inhibitor, created considerable downregulation of energy centre metabolites (glucose, sucrose, glycine and glutamine), which in turn generated high levels of branched amino acids.

This insight provides direction for further targeted experiments to look for indicators for the early diagnosis of influenza infection and assess the effectiveness of drug therapies.

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