Systemic and cellular metabolism: the cause of and remedy for disease?

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The word ‘metabolism’ is derived from the Greek word μεταβολή (metabolē), denoting ‘change’. True to this definition, it is now appreciated that a cell or tissue cannot change its behaviour without altering its metabolism. Hence, most key cell decision-making processes are tightly coupled to metabolic change. Conversely, perturbations in metabolite abundance or flux can alter cellular (and whole-body) function profoundly, giving rise to disease. This Special Issue on Systemic and Cellular Metabolism and Disease provides an integrative perspective on the importance of metabolism for health and disease alike. Spanning several orders of scale (from metabolites, proteins, organelles, organs/tissues and whole-body physiology), these review articles cover a breadth of topics, including the importance of metabolites as signalling regulators, metabolic disease, immunity, organelle function/dysfunction, ageing and neurodegenerative disease. One of the emergent themes is that just as metabolism is the fulcrum of biology, metabolic perturbances underpin most forms of acute, chronic, infectious and non-infectious human disease; ageing and senescence could be similarly viewed. Arguably most diseases are metabolic diseases; hence, modulating metabolism may help to ‘change’ disease outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3624-3627
Number of pages4
JournalThe FEBS Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusEarly online date - 21 Jun 2021


  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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