Metabolic Connectome and Its Role in the Prediction, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Complex Diseases

Weiyu Meng, Hongxin Pan, Yuyang Sha, Xiaobing Zhai, Abao Xing, Sai Sachin Lingampelly, Srinivasa R. Sripathi, Yuefei Wang, Kefeng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The interconnectivity of advanced biological systems is essential for their proper functioning. In modern connectomics, biological entities such as proteins, genes, RNA, DNA, and metabolites are often represented as nodes, while the physical, biochemical, or functional interactions between them are represented as edges. Among these entities, metabolites are particularly significant as they exhibit a closer relationship to an organism’s phenotype compared to genes or proteins. Moreover, the metabolome has the ability to amplify small proteomic and transcriptomic changes, even those from minor genomic changes. Metabolic networks, which consist of complex systems comprising hundreds of metabolites and their interactions, play a critical role in biological research by mediating energy conversion and chemical reactions within cells. This review provides an introduction to common metabolic network models and their construction methods. It also explores the diverse applications of metabolic networks in elucidating disease mechanisms, predicting and diagnosing diseases, and facilitating drug development. Additionally, it discusses potential future directions for research in metabolic networks. Ultimately, this review serves as a valuable reference for researchers interested in metabolic network modeling, analysis, and their applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • disease diagnosis
  • drug discovery
  • metabolic connectome
  • network models
  • systems biology


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