Recent developments in deuterium oxide tracer approaches to measure rates of substrate turnover: implications for protein, lipid, and nucleic acid research

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Purpose of reviewMethods that inform on dynamic metabolism that can be applied to clinical populations to understand disease progression and responses to therapeutic interventions are of great importance. This review perspective will highlight recent advances, development, and applications of the multivalent stable isotope tracer deuterium oxide (D2O) to the study of substrate metabolism with particular reference to protein, lipids, and nucleic acids, and how these methods can be readily applied within clinical and pharmaceutical research.Recent findingsAdvances in the application of D2O techniques now permit the simultaneous dynamic measurement of a range of substrates (i.e. protein, lipid, and nucleic acids, along with the potential for OMICs methodologies) with minimal invasiveness further creating opportunities for long-term ‘free living’ measures that can be used in clinical settings. These techniques have recently been applied to ageing populations and further in cancer patients revealing altered muscle protein metabolism. Additionally, the efficacy of numerous drugs in improving lipoprotein profiles and controlling cellular proliferation in leukaemia have been revealed.SummaryD2O provides opportunities to create a more holistic picture of in-vivo metabolic phenotypes, providing a unique platform for development in clinical applications, and the emerging field of personalized medicine.

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