Closing the gap between in vivo and in vitro omics: using QA/QC to strengthen ex vivo NMR metabolomics

Amith Sadananda Maroli, Robert Powers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Metabolomics aims to achieve a global quantitation of the pool of metabolites within a biological system. Importantly, metabolite concentrations serve as a sensitive marker of both genomic and phenotypic changes in response to both internal and external stimuli. NMR spectroscopy greatly aids in the understanding of both in vitro and in vivo physiological systems and in the identification of diagnostic and therapeutic biomarkers. Accordingly, NMR is widely utilized in metabolomics and fluxomics studies due to its limited requirements for sample preparation and chromatography, its non-destructive and quantitative nature, its utility in the structural elucidation of unknown compounds, and, importantly, its versatility in the analysis of in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo samples. This review provides an overview of the strengths and limitations of in vitro and in vivo experiments for translational research and discusses how ex vivo studies may overcome these weaknesses to facilitate the extrapolation of in vitro insights to an in vivo system. The application of NMR-based metabolomics to ex vivo samples, tissues, and biofluids can provide essential information that is close to a living system (in vivo) with sensitivity and resolution comparable to those of in vitro studies. The success of this extrapolation process is critically dependent on high-quality and reproducible data. Thus, the incorporation of robust quality assurance and quality control checks into the experimental design and execution of NMR-based metabolomics experiments will ensure the successful extrapolation of ex vivo studies to benefit translational medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4594
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • HR-MAS
  • NMR
  • biomarkers
  • ex vivo
  • metabolomics
  • quality assurance
  • quality control
  • translational medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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