A Multi-focal View of Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious metabolic condition affecting more than 37 million Americans and 537 million adults worldwide according to the International Diabetes Federation. However, despite being a worldwide epidemic, much remains unknown about individual risk factors for diabetes development, and research is currently being done to identify new and effective treatments for diabetes at all stages.

Reveal Disease Mechanisms and Support Patient Stratification

By facilitating simultaneous assessment of hundreds of compounds present in living systems, metabolomics can be a critical tool used to identify biomarkers of disease development and novel targets to control Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) progression.

Most recently, Metabolon’s technology contributed to the identification of a key gut microbiome-derived compound linked to insulin resistance. A study published in Cell in 2018 helped clarify the connection between diet, the gut microbiome and processes such as glucose tolerance and insulin signaling, which are important mechanisms in the development of T2D. Revealing disease mechanisms is also vital to understanding related conditions like pre-diabetes and gestational diabetes, since both may signal a predisposition to developing a form of T2D. Therefore diabetes researchers will find value in the capability of Metabolon’s metabolomics and lipidomics services for discovering predictive biomarkers. With these tools, Metabolon is uniquely positioned to capture diabetes phenotypes through the broadest lens possible.

Understand Diabetes Treatment Mode of Action

Metabolomics has helped expound the pharmacological actions of metformin, the front-line drug for T2D. Metformin reduces insulin resistance and improves the uptake of glucose in muscle, making it useful in controlling plasma glucose levels of T2D patients.1 However, the influence of metformin on AMPK (5′ AMP-activated protein kinase), and energy homeostasis is still not completely understood. Recently, metabolomics helped to show that metformin activation of the AMPK in the liver lowers the values of LDL cholesterol and relaxes smooth muscle tissue, thereby aiding T2D patients who also have cardiovascular disease. Metformin has also been linked to reduced risk of certain kinds of cancers, including head and neck cancers.2 Therefore, a better understanding of how metformin works could improve treatments for diabetic patients and identify additional therapeutic uses. More broadly, this research demonstrates the power of metabolomics in understanding the therapeutic mode of action for pharmacological treatments of diabetes and its comorbidities.

Metabolon Can Move Your Diabetes Research Forward

Metabolomics can provide a snapshot of the metabolic state of the entire organism as well as individual tissues, revealing how metabolic disease can drive inflammatory disorders and other comorbidities. Our industry-leading library of over 5400 metabolites provides the broadest coverage and capability to see potential biomarkers in your data or identify therapeutic targets. Our ISO 9001:2015 certification demonstrates our continued ability to meet customer, statutory, and regulatory standards. In addition to our robust Quality Management System, Metabolon has 20+ years of experience and a team of expert systems biologists to work with you to progress your research.

See how Metabolon can advance your path to preclinical and clinical insights

Amino Acids Targeted Panel

Amino acids (AA) are the foundational building blocks for peptides and proteins. These small molecules regulate metabolic pathways that are involved in cell maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity. Branched chain amino acids play a large role in building muscle tissue and participate in increasing protein synthesis. Amino acids also play a role in cell signaling, gene expression and protein phosphorylation. Maintaining an optimal balance of amino acids is vital to maintaining a stable equilibrium of physiological processes.
Amino Acids Targeted Panel
Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Single Analyte Assay

Beta-Hydroxybutyrate Single Analyte Assay

β-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB, 3-hydroxybutyrate) is an endogenous ketone body that accumulates during periods of fasting, calorie restriction and prolonged exercise. It is created via a multi-step process involving the break-down of fatty acids into acetyl CoA, conversion to acetoacetate and reduction to β-hydroxybutyrate in the liver. BHB is the primary ketone found in the blood and is necessary for brain function especially when glucose is unavailable. It also provides neuroprotective benefits, such as relieving oxidative stress and inhibition of apoptotic pathway in cells.

Bile Acids Targeted Panel

Bile acids are derived from cholesterol and serve an important role in emulsifying and digesting lipids. In addition, their metabolism is intimately involved with the microbiota, and they have been shown to exhibit endocrine and metabolic activity via receptors like FXR and TGR5. The Bile Acids Targeted Panel measures all the major human and rodent primary and secondary bile acids as well as their glycine and taurine conjugates.
Bile Acids Targeted Panel
C4 Single Analyte Assay

C4 Single Analyte Assay

7-α-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one (C4) is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of bile acids from cholesterol. The precursor to C4 is 7α-hydroxycholesterol which is produced from cholesterol via the hepatic enzyme, 7α-hydroxylase. 7-α-hydroxylase catalyzes the rate-limiting step in bile acid synthesis and its activity is tightly regulated via the FXR receptor. Measurement of the stable metabolite C4, a product of the next oxidative enzymatic reaction after 7-α-hydroxylase, is reflective of hepatic de-novo bile acid synthesis and FXR receptor activation. Bile acid malabsorption is associated with a variety of gastrointestinal pathologies (eg, irritable bowel syndrome, ileal disease) and is characterized by elevated serum C4 levels.

Central Carbons Targeted Panel

Central carbon metabolism involves the enzymatic conversion of sugars into metabolic precursors that are used to generate the entire biomass of the cell. The metabolites in this panel include key citric acid cycle compounds that connect carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. In addition to supplying key metabolic precursors, central carbon metabolism is used to oxidize simple sugar molecules obtained from food to supply energy to living systems. Measurement of central carbon metabolites has great industrial relevance since it may allow the engineering of selected metabolic steps to optimize carbon flow toward precursors for industrially important metabolites.
Central Carbons Targeted Panel
Creatinine Single Analyte Assay

Creatinine Single Analyte Assay

Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine produced by muscles. Creatinine is removed from the body by the kidneys, which filter it from the blood and release it into the urine. Serum creatinine has been used as biomarker for acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. Urinary creatinine is used to test sample dilution, and biomarker-to-creatinine ratio can be used to correct the fluctuation of urine volume.

Free Fatty Acids Targeted Panel

Fatty acids play many physiologically important roles in an organism. They are not only key metabolites of energy storage and production but also the basic building blocks of complex lipids that form cellular membranes. A variety of bioactive forms of fatty acid metabolites, known as lipid mediators, act as local hormones and are involved in many physiological systems and pathological processes. Free fatty acids (FFA, non-esterified fatty acids, NEFA) are the nonbound fraction of the total fatty acid pool. The determination of FFAs in plasma (or serum) is of clinical relevance as the association between FFAs and many diseases is well-known (eg, insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease).
Free Fatty Acids Targeted Panel
Salivary Glucose Single Analyte Assay

Salivary Glucose Single Analyte Assay

Daily monitoring of glucose levels is an essential part of managing diabetes. However, blood glucose testing usually involves finger pricks, an invasive procedure that is troublesome to some patients. Therefore, increasing efforts have been made to develop a non-invasive method by self-testing salivary glucose levels, which are two orders of magnitude lower than those in blood.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel

Impaired Glucose Tolerance is a prediabetic state of hyperglycemia that is associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of cardiovascular pathology (Barr, 2007). The condition occurs when blood glucose levels remain high for an extended period after oral ingestion of glucose but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance can be assessed with a single fasted blood draw by measuring a panel of selected metabolites comprised of two small organic acids (α-hydroxybutyric acid (AHB) and 4-methyl-2-oxopentanoic acid (4MOP)), 2 lipids (oleic acid and linoleoyl glycerophosphocholine (LGPC)), a ketone body (β-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA)), an amino acid (serine), a vitamin (pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)), and glucose.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel
Insulin Resistance Targeted Panel

Insulin Resistance Targeted Panel

Insulin resistance is a critical pathophysiological state underlying several chronic conditions, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Insulin resistance is evident when glucose builds up in the blood stream instead of being absorbed by the body’s cells. It is a result of a diminished response to the hormone insulin at the whole body, organ, or cellular level.

A panel of biomarkers comprised of a small organic acid (α-hydroxybutyric acid (AHB)), 2 lipids (oleic acid and linoleoylglycero-phosphocholine (LGPC)) and insulin identifies insulin resistance with a single fasting blood sample and may have value as an early indicator of risk for the development of prediabetes and type-2 diabetes.

Metabolon in Action

Biomarker Discovery in Insulin Resistance

Metabolon global metabolomics was used to develop Quantose™, an algorithm that can accurately predict insulin resistance via novel biomarkers with a single fasting blood sample.

Read the case study

Gut Microbiome and Diabetes

Using Metabolon’s proprietary Metabolon Discover Panel, capable of detecting and identifying over 5400 metabolites within a single sample, global metabolomics profiling identified imidazole propionate as a microbially produced metabolite that is uniquely increased in the portal blood of subjects with type 2 diabetes.

Read the case study

Interested in Further Studies?

Why Metabolon?

Once you see the full value of metabolomics, the only remaining question is who does it best? While many laboratories have metabolite profiling or analytical chemistry capabilities, comprehensive metabolomics technologies are extremely rare. Accurate, unbiased metabolite identification across the entire metabolome introduces signal-to-noise challenges that very few labs are equipped to handle. Also, translating massive quantities of data into actionable information is slow, if not impossible, for most because proper interpretation takes two things that are in short supply: experience and a comprehensive database.

Only Metabolon has all four core metabolomics capabilities



Ability to interrogate thousands of metabolites across diverse biochemical space, revealing new insights and opportunities



Ability to integrate the data from different studies into the same dataset, in different geographies, among different patients over time


Ability to inform on proper study design, generate high‐quality data, derive biological insights, and make actionable recommendations


Ability to process hundreds of thousands of samples quickly and cost‐efficiently to service rapidly growing demand

Partner with Metabolon to access:


A library of 5,400+ known metabolites, 2,000 in human plasma, all referenced in the context of biochemical pathways

  • That’s 5x the metabolites of the closest competitor

Unparalleled depth and breadth of experience analyzing and interpreting metabolomic data to find meaningful results

  • 10,000+ projects with hundreds of clients
  • 2,000+ publications covering 500 diseases, including numerous peer-reviewed journals such as Cell, Nature and Science
  • Nearly 40 PhDs in data science, molecular biology, and biochemistry

Using our robust platform and visualization tools, our experts are uniquely able to tell you more about your molecule and develop assay panels to help you zero in on the results you need.

Contact Us

Talk with an expert

Request a quote for our services or more information on sample types and handling procedures, need a letter of support, or simply have questions about how metabolomics can advance your research.

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1. Adam J, Brandmaier S, Leonhardt J, et al. Metformin Effect on Nontargeted Metabolite Profiles in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and in Multiple Murine Tissues. Diabetes. 2016;65(12):3776-3785. doi:10.2337/db16-0512

2. Curry J, Johnson J, Tassone P, et al. Metformin effects on head and neck squamous carcinoma microenvironment: Window of opportunity trial. Laryngoscope. 2017;127(8):1808-1815. doi:10.1002/lary.26489

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