Applications of stable, nonradioactive isotope tracers in in vivo human metabolic research

Il Young Kim, Sang Hoon Suh, In Kyu Lee, Robert R. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


The human body is in a constant state of turnover, that is, being synthesized, broken down and/or converted to different compounds. The dynamic nature of in vivo kinetics of human metabolism at rest and in stressed conditions such as exercise and pathophysiological conditions such as diabetes and cancer can be quantitatively assessed with stable, nonradioactive isotope tracers in conjunction with gas or liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and modeling. Although measurements of metabolite concentrations have been useful as general indicators of one's health status, critical information on in vivo kinetics of metabolites such as rates of production, appearance or disappearance of metabolites are not provided. Over the past decades, stable, nonradioactive isotope tracers have been used to provide information on dynamics of specific metabolites. Stable isotope tracers can be used in conjunction with molecular and cellular biology tools, thereby providing an in-depth dynamic assessment of metabolic changes, as well as simultaneous investigation of the molecular basis for the observed kinetic responses. In this review, we will introduce basic principles of stable isotope methodology for tracing in vivo kinetics of human or animal metabolism with examples of quantifying certain aspects of in vivo kinetics of carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere203
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 KSBMB.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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