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Human microbiota: innovative method to identify alterations in metabolic diseases

Human microbiota: innovative method to identify alterations in metabolic diseases

It is known that the metabolic activity of all the microorganisms that make up the human microbiome interacts with host metabolism, contributing to human health in a way that is not yet fully understood.

A group of researchers from the Center for Complexity and Biosystems at University of Milan published in the Cell group journal iScience, a study of a new computational method for deriving the spectrum of metabolites associated with an individual’s microbiome. The method, called STELLA, was then applied to data obtained from the microbiome of patients with autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis, allowing the identification of already known and novel disease-related metabolites.

 “STELLA integrates known information on the metabolic pathways associated with each bacterial species and extracts from these the list of metabolic products of each singular reaction through an automatic analysis,” says Caterina La Porta professor of General Pathology at the university’s Department of Environmental Science and Policy and coordinator of the study, “The great strength and innovation of Stella is that it allows through the comparison of the results of a single subject with the metabolic profile data of healthy subjects, to identify individual metabolic alterations.”

“The STELLA platform helps to identify new targets to make traditional therapies more effective using an integrated approach that addresses the complexity of the metabolic network,” concludes Stefano Zapperi, professor at the Department of Physics “Aldo Pontremoli” at the University of Milan and co-author of the study.