The field of metabolomics as applied to human disease and health is rapidly expanding. In recent efforts of metabolomics research, greater emphasis has been placed on quality control and method validation. In this study, we report an experience with quality control and a practical application of method validation. Specifically, we sought to identify and modify steps in gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based, non-targeted metabolomic profiling of human plasma that could influence metabolite identification and quantification. Our experimental design included two studies: (1) a limiting-dilution study, which investigated the effects of dilution on analyte identification and quantification; and (2) a concentration-specific study, which compared the optimal plasma extract volume established in the first study with the volume used in the current institutional protocol. We confirmed that contaminants, concentration, repeatability and intermediate precision are major factors influencing metabolite identification and quantification. In addition, we established methods for improved metabolite identification and quantification, which were summarized to provide recommendations for experimental design of GC-MS-based non-targeted profiling of human plasma.
Wang, H., Muehlbauer, M. J., O’Neal, S. K., Newgard, C. B., Hauser, E. R., Bain, J. R., & Shah, S. H. (2017). Recommendations for improving identification and quantification in non-targeted, GC-MS-based metabolomic profiling of human plasma. Metabolites, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo7030045