Neuroscience Solutions

Understanding the Brain with Applied Metabolomics

Neurological diseases encompass disorders that affect the brain as well as the nerves and spinal cord. They include a wide range of disorders, including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. The specific causes of neurological problems vary, but metabolomics could have an enormous impact on our understanding of the cellular and molecular basis for neurological diseases. By elucidating the complex interactions between metabolic pathways and health or disease outcomes, metabolomics can help understand the underlying biology of neurological diseases.

Better Neurological Disease Diagnoses and Treatments are Needed

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), neurological disorders affect up to 1 billion people worldwide. Of the one billion people affected worldwide, 50 million suffer from epilepsy and 24 million from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Unfortunately, by the time most neurological disorders are diagnosed, significant neuronal damage has occurred. Moreover, current therapies only act to slow disease progression without reversing neurological damage. Therefore, battling neurological diseases requires more effective and reliable diagnosis to combat disease progression and implement effective treatment.

Metabolomics is a promising approach that can assist with the discovery of disease-specific biomarkers. Biomarkers can assist with brain disease diagnosis or be used in monitoring treatment. This pivotal tool for biomarker discovery can lead to earlier prediction, detection, and diagnosis of neurological illnesses, giving us more time to administer therapies to improve the quality of life for anyone affected with neurological disorders. Therefore, more metabolomic studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms involved in neurological diseases.

Elucidate the Relationship Between Metabolites and Neurological Disorders

More understanding is needed about the aspects of disease occurrence and severity in neurological diseases. Metabolon can provide a unique insight into the state of health and metabolic functions of neurological diseases via metabolomic analysis. Global metabolomics can be applied to discover metabolic drivers of neurological disorders on cultured cells, brain tissue, and serum. These insights can be translated to actionable biomarkers through follow-on targeted panels.

Brain Biomarkers and Therapies

Biomarker identification via global metabolomics can highlight the connection between metabolomics and neurological disease as well as open the door to new therapies. Leveraging global metabolomics as a wide-angle tool will support the development of non-invasive diagnostics and therapeutics that have the capability to improve the lives of patients.

With our industry-leading library of over 5,400 metabolites, Metabolon has the broadest coverage and capability to see potential biomarkers in your data. Metabolon’s deep experience in metabolomics plays a vital role in future advancements of the neuroscience field.

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

Metabolomics Panels for Neuroscience

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
Fatty Acid Metabolism Targeted Panel

Fatty Acid Metabolism 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 (e. g. eicosanoids, lysophospholipids, resolvines, protectins, maresines). Dysregulation of fatty acid metabolism has been associated with many diseases.

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.
Salivary Glucose Single Analyte Assay
Indoles/Uremic Toxicity Targeted Panel

Indoles/Uremic Toxicity Targeted Panel

Uremic toxicity is the buildup of toxic analytes that are not able to be adequately filtered by the kidneys due to kidney injury or disease. Indole metabolites of tryptophan, the tyrosine metabolite p-cresol sulfate and 4-ethylphenyl sulfate are a key group of gut microbiota-derived uremic compounds. Their formation is the result of a complex interaction between diet, gut microbiota and host. Increased production of these compounds by the gut microbiota and reduced clearance in kidney disease can lead to toxicity affecting nearly all systems in the body.

Short Chain Fatty Acid Targeted Panel

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced in the colon by the gut microbiota. They are the end products of anaerobic fermentation of dietary fibers and protein/peptides in the small intestine. Their formation is the result of a complex interaction between diet, gut microbiota, and host. SCFAs influence the physiology of the colon serving as energy sources by host cells and the intestinal microbiota as well as participating in different host signaling mechanisms.
Short Chain Fatty Acids Targeted Panel
Tryptophan Kynurenine Ratio Targeted Panel

Tryptophan/Kynurenine Ratio Targeted Panel

The kynurenine pathway is a metabolic pathway leading to the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) from the enzymatic conversion of tryptophan. Immune activation leads to the formation of kynurenine with corresponding loss of tryptophan.

The kynurenine/tryptophan ratio has been used to reflect the activity of the tryptophan-degrading enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in cellular inflammatory response related to symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, and other neurological disease.

“Metabolomics is clearly linked to genotype and, more interestingly, to phenotype. It allows a unique view of the relationships among genes, gene expression, environments, lifestyles, microbiomes, treatments, and pathologies.”1

Metabolon in Action

Ketogenic Efficacy Through Microbiome Metabolism

A potential treatment for epilepsy without using probiotics is revealed through metabolomics following a ketogenic diet treatment. Metabolon identified hundreds of metabolites, with a large portion of those with significantly altered levels belonging to a class of metabolites called gamma-glutamyl amino acids (GG-AAs). The GG-AAs were found to be reduced in the mice fed a ketogenic diet, suggesting that GG-AA levels were significantly correlated to the number of seizures in the mouse model.

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Biomarkers for Neurogenetic Disease Progression

Translational research tools like the Metabolon Discovery: Global Platform offer the ability to analyze the serum metabolomic profiles of other types of mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) or other neurological diseases. This will ultimately allow the identification of specific biomarkers (metabolites) for assessing disease progression, severity, and therapeutic outcome for these diseases.

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Evaluating the Effect of a Novel Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Drug

The Metabolon Global Discovery Panel was utilized to establish a CAD-31 metabolomic signature that includes novel biomarkers for treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The data from this study demonstrate that in a mouse model of AD, CAD-31 has therapeutic efficacy on the cognitive and physiological parameters of AD. The changes identified in the metabolite profile of CAD-31-treated mice are necessary to determine the physiological consequences of CAD-31 exposure and find markers for target engagement.

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Biomarkers of Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency Syndrome (GLUT1-DS)

This study advanced the understanding of metabolic perturbations in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), plasma, and urine samples of GLUT1-DS patients and GLUT1-DS patients on a ketogenic diet.  The data showed that metabolomics may offer new insights into the molecular mechanisms regulating GLUT1 function and may open new avenues of treatment for GLUT1-DS.

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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.

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Request a quote for our services, get more information on sample types and handling procedures, request a letter of support, or submit a question about how metabolomics can advance your research.

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1. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Facts about IBS. Available at Accessed 08-02-2022.

2. National Institute of Health. Digestive Diseases Statistics for the United States. Available at Accessed 08-02-2022.

3. Sung H, Ferlay J, Siegel RL, et al. Global Cancer Statistics 2020: GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71(3):209-249. doi:10.3322/caac.21660