Analytical biochemistry

Extraction parameters for metabolomics from cultured cells.

PMID 25613493


The successful extraction of metabolites is a critical step in metabolite profiling. By optimizing metabolite extraction, the range and quantitative capacity of metabolomics studies can be improved. We considered eight separate extraction protocols for the preparation of a metabolite extract from cultured mammalian cells. Parameters considered included temperature, pH, and cell washing before extraction. The effects on metabolite recovery were studied using a liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) platform that measures metabolites of diverse chemical classes, including amino acids, lipids, and sugar derivatives. The temperature considered during the extraction or the presence of formic acid, a commonly used additive, was shown to have minimal effects on the measured ion intensities of metabolites. However, washing of samples before metabolite extraction, whether with water or phosphate-buffered saline, exhibited dramatic effects on measured intensities of both intracellular and extracellular metabolites. Together, these findings present a systematic assessment of extraction conditions for metabolite profiling.