Development and quantitative evaluation of a high-resolution metabolomics technology

Anal Chem. 2014 Feb 18;86(4):2175-84. doi: 10.1021/ac403845u. Epub 2014 Jan 28.


Recent advances in mass spectrometry have allowed for unprecedented characterization of human metabolism and its contribution to disease. Despite these advances, limitations in metabolomics technology remain. Here, we describe a metabolomics strategy that consolidates several recent improvements in mass spectrometry technology. The platform involves a high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometer coupled to faster scanning speeds, allowing for polarity switching and improved ion optics resulting in enhanced sensitivity. When coupled to HILIC chromatography, we are able to quantify over 339 metabolites from an extract of HCT8 cells with a linear range of over 4 orders of magnitude in a single chromatographic run. These metabolites include diverse chemical classes ranging from amino acids to polar lipids. In addition, we also detect over 3000 additional potential metabolites present in mammalian cells. We applied this platform to characterize the metabolome of eight colorectal cancer cell lines and observed both commonalities and heterogeneities across their metabolic profiles when cells are grown in identical conditions. Together these results demonstrate that simultaneous profiling and quantitation of the human metabolome is feasible.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Metabolomics / standards*