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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 350703, 8 pages
Research Article

A Metabolomics Approach to Stratify Patients Diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus into Excess or Deficiency Syndromes

1Center of Chinese Medicine Therapy and Systems Biology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
2Institute of Digestive Disease, Longhua Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200032, China

Received 23 June 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014

Academic Editor: Wei Jia

Copyright © 2015 Tao Wu 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.


The prevalence of type 2 diabetes continuously increases globally. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can stratify the diabetic patients based on their different TCM syndromes and, thus, allow a personalized treatment. Metabolomics is able to provide metabolite biomarkers for disease subtypes. In this study, we applied a metabolomics approach using an ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with quadruple-time-of-flight (QTOF) mass spectrometry system to characterize the metabolic alterations of different TCM syndromes including excess and deficiency in patients diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM). We obtained a snapshot of the distinct metabolic changes of DM patients with different TCM syndromes. DM patients with excess syndrome have higher serum 2-indolecarboxylic acid, hypotaurine, pipecolic acid, and progesterone in comparison to those patients with deficiency syndrome. The excess patients have more oxidative stress as demonstrated by unique metabolite signatures than the deficiency subjects. The results provide an improved understanding of the systemic alteration of metabolites in different syndromes of DM. The identified serum metabolites may be of clinical relevance for subtyping of diabetic patients, leading to a personalized DM treatment.