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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 254076, 9 pages
Review Article

Metabolomic Profiling in Perinatal Asphyxia: A Promising New Field

Neonatal Brain Research Group, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), University College Cork and Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland

Received 17 October 2014; Revised 7 January 2015; Accepted 8 January 2015

Academic Editor: Nicola Simola

Copyright © 2015 Niamh M. Denihan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metabolomics, the latest “omic” technology, is defined as the comprehensive study of all low molecular weight biochemicals, “metabolites” present in an organism. As a systems biology approach, metabolomics has huge potential to progress our understanding of perinatal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, by uniquely detecting rapid biochemical pathway alterations in response to the hypoxic environment. The study of metabolomic biomarkers in the immediate neonatal period is not a trivial task and requires a number of specific considerations, unique to this disease and population. Recruiting a clearly defined cohort requires standardised multicentre recruitment with broad inclusion criteria and the participation of a range of multidisciplinary staff. Minimally invasive biospecimen collection is a priority for biomarker discovery. Umbilical cord blood presents an ideal medium as large volumes can be easily extracted and stored and the sample is not confounded by postnatal disease progression. Pristine biobanking and phenotyping are essential to ensure the validity of metabolomic findings. This paper provides an overview of the current state of the art in the field of metabolomics in perinatal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy. We detail the considerations required to ensure high quality sampling and analysis, to support scientific progression in this important field.