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The Metabolomics of AsthmaMetabolomics and Asthma: Novel Diagnostic Potential

Darryl J. Adamko, MD; Brian D. Sykes, PhD; Brian H. Rowe, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Adamko), the Department of Biochemistry (Dr Sykes), and the Department of Emergency Medicine (Dr Rowe), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; and the Department of Pediatrics (Dr Adamko), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada.

Correspondence to: Darryl J. Adamko, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Saskatchewan, Royal University Hospital, 103 Hospital Dr, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 0W8, Canada; e-mail: darryl.adamko@usask.ca


Funding/Support: Dr Rowe is supported by the 21st Century Canada Research Chairs Program of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through the Government of Canada.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(5):1295-1302. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2028
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Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses, especially in children. Reaching the diagnosis of asthma and its management are more difficult than for other chronic illnesses. For example, asthma is a heterogeneous syndrome with many clinical classifications based on patient symptoms, lung function, and response to therapy. The symptoms and objective measurements of lung function, often used to guide therapy, are largely based on the inflammation of the airways. Because measuring airway dysfunction and inflammation in a typical clinical setting is difficult, it is often not done. Metabolomics is the study of small molecules generated from cellular metabolic activity. It is possible that the metabolic profile of a patient with a chronic illness such as asthma is different from that of a healthy patient or from a patient with another respiratory illness. Furthermore, if this metabolome could be measured, it might also vary with disease severity. The pattern of metabolites becomes the diagnostic representing the disease. This article outlines the more recent work that has been done to develop the metabolomic profile of asthma.

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