Metabolomics is the study of small biomolecules or “metabolites” endogenous to a biological system. These small molecules are essential for an organism’s metabolism or to a particular metabolic process. Metabolites are an organism’s workforce, providing signals and information from the environment and genes. They are the intermediate products of metabolic reactions catalyzed by various enzymes that occur naturally within a biological system. Metabolomics is therefore considered to provide a direct functional readout of the physiological state of an organism, cell, or tissue. Understanding the metabolism is integral to comprehending the phenotypic behavior of all living things.
AXYS is a world leader in ultra-trace analysis of small-molecule entities and has been measuring xenobiotics and their metabolites for almost four decades using FI or LC-MS and high resolution GC-MS techniques. AXYS is also the only commercial lab in North America that is IEC/ISO 17025-accredited for its targeted metabolomics assay. AXYS currently has protocols for a variety of species and tissue compartments and follows rigorous quality control procedures that greatly exceed current industry standards. This remarkable selection of analyses can provide researchers insights into the biology physiological state of biological systems, with biochemical profiling and quantitative metabolite concentration data. The platform is appropriate for many different applications, including toxicological, environmental and biomedical studies.
Metabolome Response to Industrial Chemicals – AXYS Targeted Metabolomics
AXYS is participating in a pilot study using targeted metabolomics analysis in serum to understand the effects of human exposure to high levels of persistent organic pollutants from industrial contamination. The project involves the analysis of serum samples for a set of persistent organic pollutants, and targeted metabolomics analysis, to determine if the metabolomics response can be correlated to pollutant exposure.
AXYS provides quantitative analysis of most major primary metabolite groups including amino acids, lipids, steroid hormones, sugars, fatty acids, acylcarnitines, and more. Our methods are adaptable to multiple matrices, such as biofluids, cells, plants, and animals. AXYS also provides expertise in experimental design, sample handling, and custom method development to best meet overall research and budget objectives.prevnext
Amino acids are fundamental components of proteins, playing key roles in neurotransmission and biosynthesis. To support the research of a large number of human diseases that involve altered metabolism of amino acids, AXYS Offers quantitative analysis of amino acids using a derivatization-based liquid chromatography (LC) Electrospray Ionization Tandem Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) method.
Biogenic amines have broad biological functions including roles in neurotransmission, inflammation and synthetic intermediates. AXYS currently offers quantitative analysis of biogenic amines including DOPA, dopamine, dimethyl arginine, and histamine by LC-ESI-MS/MS. Since measurable concentrations are highly dependent on the species and tissue sampled as well as the endogenous versus exogenous source, our analysis of biogenic amines is custom tailored to the type of sample being tested.
Carnitine and its acyl esters are broadly occurring and are essential for fatty acid metabolism -- Acylcarnitine profiles have been used for the diagnosis of multiple fatty acid oxidation disorders and several organic acidemias in humans. AXYS offers analysis of acylcarnitines by flow-injection electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (FI-ESI-MS/MS) with isotopically labelled standards.
Glycerophospholipids are the main component of lipid membranes and changes in brain glycerophospholipid profiles have been linked to certain neurological disorders. AXYS uses an approach involving flow injection-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (FI-ESI-MS/MS) for determination of glycerophospholipids, including saturated and unsaturated species.
Sphingolipids play an important role in signal transmission, cell recognition and cell protection. AXYS quantifies saturated, unsaturated and hydroxysphingomyelins by FI-ESI-MS/MS.
Hexoses are monosaccharides with 6 carbon atoms, having the chemical formula C6H12O6. Glucose is the most abundant hexose in human blood; other hexoses, including galactose and fructose, are present at very low concentrations and are metabolic intermediates and key sources of cellular energy. AXYS offers an isotope-dilution, LC-MS/MS method for quantitative determination and assessment of changes in hexose levels in biological samples.
Bile acids are steroid acids -- Their main function is to facilitate the formation of micelles, promoting processing of dietary fat. In humans, bile acid profiles have been used for clinical diagnosis of cholestasis, portosystemic shunt, and hepatic microvascular dysplasia. AXYS offers quantitative analysis of bile acids by LC-MS/MS, including non-conjugated, taurine-conjugated and glycine-conjugated acids.
Fatty acids are typically derived from triglycerides or phospholipids and are used as source of energy -- therefore, they are potentially indicative of metabolic and nutritional state. AXYS offers quantitative analysis of fatty acids (mixture of saturated and unsaturated acids) by isotope-dilution, LC-ESI-MS/MS. Included in this list are nutritionally important omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. DPA, EHA, DHA).
AXYS Develops Zebrafish Toxicity Assay
The increasing presence of environmental contaminants in aquatic ecosystems are of concern due to the high biological activities of many compounds. Zebrafish embryos are a promising model to study effects of short-term exposure due to their relative ease of use, and applicability to human biological systems. AXYS developed an exposure protocol, and developed targeted metabolomic methods to measure metabolite fingerprints in the embryos. AXYS measured the resultant metabolomic perturbations in Zebrafish Larvae after they were exposed to a variety of contaminants in different exposure experiments at environmentally relevant concentrations. For example, in an experiment involving exposure to select pharmaceuticals, AXYS proved the toxicological relevance of measuring metabolomic changes using a systems biology approach, and identified key and unique pathways affected by the exposure.
Fingerprinting Multi-Organism Responses to Endocrine Disruptors
AXYS supported the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s efforts to understand the potential impact from endocrine-disrupting compounds on species living around various municipal wastewater treatment plants. AXYS applied targeted metabolomics to many species including Rainbow trout, juvenile fathead minnow, hexagenia larvae, goldfish to analyze potential differences in metabolite profiles.
Endocrine Perturbation in Sockeye Salmon Metabolite Profiles
The health of Skeena River Sockeye salmon has been of increasing concern due to declining stocks over the past decade. In collaboration with the Institute of Ocean Sciences and the University of Victoria, AXYS measured the metabolite profiles of in-migrating Sockeye salmon and showed distinctive metabolite profiles for certain fish that were potentially linked to xenobiotic exposure, natural senescence, or interindividual intervariability.