The reconstruction and analysis of tissue specific human metabolic networks

Tong Hao, Hong-Wu Ma, Xue-Ming Zhao, Igor Goryanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human tissues have distinct biological functions. Many proteins/enzymes are known to be expressed only in specific tissues and therefore the metabolic networks in various tissues are different. Though high quality global human metabolic networks and metabolic networks for certain tissues such as liver have already been studied, a systematic study of tissue specific metabolic networks for all main tissues is still missing. In this work, we reconstruct the tissue specific metabolic networks for 15 main tissues in human based on the previously reconstructed Edinburgh Human Metabolic Network (EHMN). The tissue information is firstly obtained for enzymes from Human Protein Reference Database (HPRD) and UniprotKB databases and transfers to reactions through the enzyme–reaction relationships in EHMN. As our knowledge of tissue distribution of proteins is still very limited, we replenish the tissue information of the metabolic network based on network connectivity analysis and thorough examination of the literature. Finally, about 80% of proteins and reactions in EHMN are determined to be in at least one of the 15 tissues. To validate the quality of the tissue specific network, the brain specific metabolic network is taken as an example for functional module analysis and the results reveal that the function of the brain metabolic network is closely related with its function as the centre of the human nervous system. The tissue specific human metabolic networks are available at
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular BioSystems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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