About this Research Topic
Infectious diseases are the major cause of death worldwide. While vaccines are available as protective measures for many diseases, for others, vaccines are unavailable and treatments are dependent on therapeutic targets that are already available, or not available yet. Therefore, it is essential to identify therapeutic targets to treat infectious diseases. The design and development of therapeutic drugs depend on many factors including the host's immune systems and type of the pathogen. For humans, several factors need to be considered during drug design and development. Mammalian systems are dynamic environments and are under stringent control of molecules including micro-elements and macromolecules such as protein, carbohydrate, lipid, amino acids, and nucleic acids. These elements are components of the regulatory network and part of the metabolic pathways in the cell. Their function is to maintain the plasticity or robustness of the cell. As a result, cells were also called "systems" about a decades ago. Robustness is not only limited to the mammalian system, but this is an essential property for the continuation of biological function for prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral systems. Even under unperturbed conditions, cellular systems are under stringent control and regulated by the elements mentioned above.
Human beings are under continuous exposure to the environment which is surrounded by pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other extrinsic factors. As a part of adaptation to the surrounding environment and protection from harmful microorganisms, the immune system plays a vital role to protect the human host. The human immune systems consist of the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. Once a pathogen infects the human host, they try to hijack the host's cellular system for their survival. Existing literature supports the idea that the host's metabolic pathway is perturbed during infection and to protect the infected cells, cytokines, integrins, tissue-specific immune cells such as macrophages, monocytes, B-cells and T-cells become activated to destroy the pathogen. Therefore, it is essential to identify the metabolites using the robust platform of systems biology approach known as “metabolomics”. While the systems biology approach integrates Omics technologies such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, of these, metabolomics is relatively a novel approach.
Metabolomics enables researchers to understand the influence of different factors in the metabolic pathway of an infected cell. Also from a clinical standpoint, metabolomic analysis can detect the pattern of metabolites that are associated with the disease or may detect an unknown metabolite indicating new pathophysiological conditions and also trace the effectiveness or toxicity of a drug in disease.
Mass spectrometry, NMR-based spectroscopy, and MALDI-TOF approaches are some examples of the platforms used to trace metabolites in a biological specimen. Considering the importance of metabolomics from a clinical standpoint, drug design and discovery and related fields, we aim to accumulate Original Research, Mini-Review and Review articles focusing on, but not limited to:
1) Metabolites associated with infectious diseases;
2) Omics platforms for clinical study;
3) Systemic diseases caused by infectious organisms and emerging pathogens;
4) Metabolites as therapeutics drugs to treat pathogenic organisms.
Keywords: Metabolomics, Infectious disease, Omics platforms, Systemic disease, Therapeutic drugs
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