Qi-deficiency also called energy deficiency, which approximates to the term of sub-health in contemporary medical theory. Diabetes is similar to the symptoms of “xiaoke” in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) which is linked with Qi-deficiency. However, the mechanism of Qi-deficiency on type 2 diabetes (T2D) has not been completely elucidated. In this study, a model on Qi-deficiency T2D rat was established by using diet with high fat and high sugar and small-dose STZ induction combined with exhaustive swimming, and the model was evaluated by pathological section, hematological index and serum biochemical parameters. Applying urine metabolomics based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry to explore the underlying molecular mechanism of Qi-deficiency on T2D and 32 urinary metabolites were identified as prospective biomarkers for Qi-deficiency T2D rats. Metabolic pathway analysis indicated that synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies, starch and sucrose metabolism, phenylalanine metabolism, arachidonic acid metabolism, butanoate metabolism and TCA cycle, etc., were closely related to potential mechanisms of Qi-deficiency on T2D. The metabolomics results can provide reliable data support for complex TCM syndrome diagnosis.
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