Xenobiotics are encountered by humans on a daily basis and include drugs, environmental pollutants, cosmetics, and even components of the diet. These chemicals undergo metabolism and detoxication to produce numerous metabolites, some of which have the potential to cause unintended effects such as toxicity. They can also block the action of enzymes or receptors used for endogenous metabolism or affect the efficacy and/or bioavailability of a coadministered drug. Therefore, it is essential to determine the full metabolic effects that these chemicals have on the body. Metabolomics, the comprehensive analysis of small molecules in a biofluid, can reveal biologically relevant perturbations that result from xenobiotic exposure. This review discusses the impact that genetic, environmental, and gut microflora variation has on the metabolome, and how these variables may interact, positively and negatively, with xenobiotic metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-56
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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