Influence of environment and lifestyle on the metabolome

Metabolomics, as the analysis of small molecules in a biological system, proved to be an important tool for the analysis of metabolic processes as a response to xenobiotics (e.g. toxins, nutrients, medication, and cosmetics). Furthermore the metabolome is influenced by our lifestyles (physical activity, smoking, diet) and we aim to unravel changes of the metabolome upon those exogenous factors.

We are working on the following topics:

In population-based cohort studies we want to depict effects of external factors on the development of functional disturbances and finally the development of diseases. These include analysis of toxic substances, biomonitoring processes and the determination of endogenous metabolites in different biological matrices.
more: Ulrike Rolle-Kampczyk; Andrea Müller
We are also working on the influence of harmful environmental substances on the occurrence of obesity. To this end we analyse different chemical substance groups, e.g. pesticides, their distribution in body fat (visceral vs. subcutaneous) and their role on the development of obesity.
more: Ulrike Rolle-Kampczyk; SFB1052
In order to analyse metabolic processes we use in vivo systems as well as cellular models. The elucidation of metabolic processes in these systems helps with the understanding of mechanistic effects of xenobiotics.
more: Ulrike Rolle-Kampczyk; Sven Haange; Beatrice Engelmann
We use and develop innovative methods for targeted and untargeted metabolomics. The advantage of untargeted metabolomics is that no prior knowledge of the analytes is necessary. The whole measurable metabolome is analysed and differences between different groups depicted. Thus finding an analysis unbiased as to the result is possible. Targeted metabolomics, however, requires prior knowledge of the metabolites to be analysed. It then offers very reliable and robust identification and quantitation of the metabolites of interest.
more: Ulrike Rolle-Kampczyk; Sven Haange; Beatrice Engelmann
As the sole abundance of metabolites is not always sufficient to draw biological conclusions we are developing a platform for metabolic flux analysis and stable isotope resolved metabolomics. Using isotopically labelled nutrients as e.g. glucose or glutamine, heavy carbon can be followed through central pathways thus allowing conclusions about preferred metabolic pathways. While stable isotope resolved metabolomics only interprets isotope patterns of specific compounds, metabolic flux analysis computes exact fluxes for all reactions in a certain pathway.
more: Katarina Fritz; Isabel Kratochvil; Beatrice Engelmann