Stable isotope-labeled tracers for metabolic pathway elucidation by GC-MS and FT-MS

Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1198:147-67. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1258-2_11.


Advances in analytical methodologies, principally nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS), over the last decade have made large-scale analysis of the human metabolome a reality. This is leading to the reawakening of the importance of metabolism in human diseases, particularly widespread metabolic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Emerging NMR and MS atom-tracking technologies and informatics are poised to revolutionize metabolomics-based research because they deliver the high information throughput (HIT) that is needed for deciphering systems biochemistry. In particular, stable isotope-resolved metabolomics (SIRM) enables unambiguous tracking of individual atoms through compartmentalized metabolic networks in a wide range of experimental systems, including human subjects. MS offers a wide range of instrumental capabilities involving different levels of initial capital outlay and operating costs, ranging from gas-chromatography (GC) MS that is affordable by many individual laboratories to the HIT-supporting Fourier-transform (FT) class of MS that rivals NMR in cost and infrastructure support. This chapter focuses on sample preparation, instrument, and data processing procedures for these two extremes of MS instrumentation used in SIRM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling / instrumentation
  • Isotope Labeling / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / instrumentation
  • Metabolomics / methods*