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The Immune System’s Defense System—Inflammatory Response

Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism against pathogens and infections. A wide range of factors can cause inflammation, including injuries like scrapes, insect stings, radiation, and environmental chemicals.

Despite being beneficial, when inflammation happens inside healthy tissues or is chronic, damage occurs. Inflammation can cause several diseases; medical research shows that chronic inflammation is a causative agent of more than half of the world’s deaths.1 Diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are thought to be associated with inflammation. Cardiovascular diseases alone caused 697,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2020.2

Traditional Technologies Are Not Accurate

When inflammation happens in the body, certain substances are often released from the inflammation site and circulate in the bloodstream, thereby becoming biomarkers of the condition. Medical professionals can use blood tests to detect these inflammatory markers, also known as acute phase reactants, to detect inflammation. The most common inflammatory markers are C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and procalcitonin (PCT).3

However, these types of inflammatory markers can sometimes produce false alarms. This is because they are not very sensitive to detect serious underlying conditions, producing 85% false positive rate and 50% false negative rate.4 Research from the University of Bristol and the University of Exeter suggest that general practitioners should not use inflammatory markers to rule out diseases or for medical diagnosis.

Precision Diagnosis of Inflammation

In order to improve the diagnosis of inflammation and its associated diseases, more accurate detection and analysis methods are required as early as possible. To make this happen, metabolomics—the profiling of metabolites in biological samples—offers a more novel approach for biomarker discovery in complex situations and may provide a pathological understanding of diseases beyond traditional technologies.

With the help of our proprietary platform— Metabolon Discover —it is possible to separate, find, characterize, and quantify these metabolites and associated metabolic pathways from biological samples like human plasma. The most comprehensive coverage and capability to identify potential biomarkers in your data is provided by our industry-leading library of over 5400 metabolites.

Trust Metabolon’s Expertise

With our team of expert systems biologists and our 20+ years of experience and institutional knowledge, we are better able to collaborate with you to design a biomarker-focused study that expedites discovery, avoids obstacles, and offers the necessary actionable data for advancing your research.

Sit back and relax while our dedicated team of experts guides you through every step from study design to sample collection, visualization to biological interpretation. With over 10,000 successful projects in our portfolio, plus more in the pipeline, you can rest assured your research will be properly designed and powered to achieve your intended objectives.

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

Metabolomics Panels for Inflammation

Oxysterols Targeted Panel

Oxysterols are intermediates in the development of bile acids, steroid hormones, vitamin D3, and other bioactive markers of inflammation and other disease states. Oxysterols—oxidized products of sterols—are bioactive intermediaries that are associated with certain diseases, and further research is required to understand their role in disease pathogenesis. Oxysterols have the potential to influence many conditions from cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer. This suggests that further research and understanding of oxysterols may help to better understand these conditions.
Oxysterols Targeted Panel
Sphingolipids Targeted Panel

Sphingolipids Targeted Panel

The Metabolon Sphingolipids Targeted Panel is a hypothesis-generating targeted panel that measures changes in 61 lipid species across five lipid classes with strong links to inflammation. This panel extends insights from genomics and proteomics by confirming the functional impact of upregulated and downregulated genes and proteins and filling gaps in metabolic pathways and biological systems that cannot be observed with other approaches. The Sphingolipids Targeted Panel gives a final, functional readout of small molecule changes at a metabolic pathway level, including the impact of exogenous lifestyle and environmental factors.

Cannabinoids Targeted Panel

The Cannabinoids Targeted Panel measures 31 cannabinoids and related molecules. The sample preparation is customized to enrich these cannabinoids and related metabolites for much better detection than other methods can provide. Our validated method of cannabinoid detection and identification in human plasma samples helps you gain insight into the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in key disease states such as chronic pain and neuro-inflammatory disease. Absolute quantification of these 31 cannabinoid metabolites provides deeper insights and detects known bioactive mediators of inflammation to enable you to gain insights into the metabolic consequences of these compounds.​

Cannabinoids Targeted Panel
Lipid Mediators of Inflammation Targeted Panel

Lipid Mediators of Inflammation Targeted Panel

The Lipid Mediators of Inflammation Targeted Panel detects 58 species across six metabolite classes, including​ pro-inflammatory mediators, anti-inflammatory mediators, prostaglandins, hydroxy/epoxy fatty acids​-related mediators, endocannabinoids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The Metabolon Lipid Mediators of Inflammation Targeted Panel is the only lipid panel available in the market that focuses on inflammatory markers, providing focused insights into inflammation. Advance your research with absolute quantification of these metabolites that could lead to novel biomarker discovery.

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
Metal Analysis Targeted Panel

Metal Analysis Targeted Panel

Metabolon’s ICP-MS-based Metal Analysis Targeted Panel provides precise measurements of biologically important metal ions in biological samples. In addition to the well-established problems of toxicity associated with several metals, the vital role these ions play in a variety of biological pathways whether by catalyzing enzymatic reactions or stabilizing protein structures is still becoming clear. Intimately intertwined with the proteome and metabolome, metal ions represent an intrinsic piece vital to the holistic understanding of biological phenomena ranging from development through normal functioning to disease. Without an understanding of the role of these metals, a complete understanding of biological processes is not possible. The Metal Analysis Targeted Panel measures a variety of metals ions ranging from the macro level (ppm) including Na, K, and Ca to the micro level (ppb) including Mo, Cu, and Ni.

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.

Tryptophan/Kynurenine Ratio Targeted Panel

Metabolon in Action

Less Invasive Diagnostic Tools for NASH

A leading research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines discovers less invasive diagnostic tools for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Read the case study

Shaping Pediatric Therapeutics with Metabolomics

A clinical-stage biotech company leverages microbiome-based medicines to treat chronic inflammatory diseases. Focusing on early life, when the developing microbiome has the largest impact on the immune system, metabolomics is leveraged throughout various stages of therapeutic development.

Untargeted metabolomics identifies metabolomic shifts and potential biomarkers. Then, targeted assays are used to validate biomarkers and identify potential mechanistic links between early-life microbiome disruptions and disease development later in life.

Read the case study

A Therapeutic Target for the Rare Disease, Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM)

The Metabolon Global Discovery Panel identified an increase in prostaglandins in TSC2-deficient cells after estradiol treatment, pointing to COX-2 as a therapeutic target for lymphangioleiomyomatosis.

Read the case study

A Biomarker for Ulcerative Colitis

Translational research tools like the Metabolon Global Discovery Panel offer the ability to analyze serum and colonic metabolomic profiles of individuals with gastrointestinal diseases. This technology enables the identification of novel biomarkers (metabolites) that might otherwise go undetected and can be used as therapeutic targets or to assess intestinal disease progression and severity. This study identified indole-3-propionic acid (IPA) as a biomarker for active ulcerative colitis as well as an indicator of disease remission in human ulcerative colitis.

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Novel Biomarkers of HIV Elite Controllers in Plasma

This study suggests that low-level inflammation and physiological antioxidant defense levels observed in the HIV elite controllers cohort could be important factors contributing to the elite controllers phenotype and the control of viral replication. The Metabolon Global Discovery Panel helped the research group identify a distinct plasma metabolic signature for HIV elite controllers.

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, 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. Furman D, Campisi J, Verdin E, Carrera-Bastos P, Targ S, Franceschi C, et al. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the lifespan. Available at Accessed 08-22-2022

2. Heart Disease Statistics and Maps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available at Accessed 08-22-2022 Accessed 08-22-2022

3. Inflammatory markers. ARUP Consult. Available at Accessed 08-23-2022

4. Inflammatory marker tests fail to rule out serious conditions, study finds. Medical Device Network. Available at Accessed 08-23-2022