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Metabolomics for 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

Metabolomics Panels for Diabetes Applications

Diabetes Research Markers Targeted Panel

Diabetes Research Markers Targeted Panel

Glucose-related metabolomic analyses are typically provided as global, untargeted metabolomics to detect and identify analytes in a sample, or targeted, absolute quantification of single metabolites. But to advance further research, there are limited options available for quantification and forensic investigation of related analytes and contributing sources of diabetes—until now. The Diabetes Research Markers Targeted Panel takes your understanding of 22 metabolites known to contribute to diabetes further than ever before, helping you discover new insights into what factors may play a significant role in affecting diabetes.

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
Impaired Glucose Tolerance Targeted Panel

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.

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.

Insulin Resistance Targeted Panel

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

Biomarkers for Obesity

Metabolon identifies a metabolic signature of obesity and assesses metabolic health without the limitations of other costly technologies.

Read the case study

Metabolite Biomarkers for Type 2 Diabetes (T2D)

This study associated T2D etiopathogenesis with metabolites that could be targeted for novel therapies. These metabolites can also diagnose the correct T2D subtype to improve care and outcomes for individuals with T2D. Monitoring these metabolites in patients with T2D via targeted metabolomic profiling may inform the efficacy of a therapeutic intervention.

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.

Corporate Headquarters

617 Davis Drive, Suite 100
Morrisville, NC 27560

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 110407
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

+1 (919) 572-1721


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