LC-MS Metabolomics Center

The Biocenter Kuopio LC-MS Metabolomics Center focuses on development and use of mass spectrometry based methods in metabolite, drug, and protein analysis. These analyses are related to wide variety of research projects in the areas of medicine, biology, drug development, nutrition, and environmental sciences.

The facility has two high-resolution LC-MS instruments (LC-qTOF-MS (Agilent 6540) and LC-Orbitrap-MS (Q-Exactive Focus)), and two LC-QQQ-MS as key instrumentation. In addition, the center has several other instruments, such as GC-MS, NMR and HPLC-UV/DAD/FD/ECD, elemental analyzer and AAS, related to analysis of wide variety of different kind of samples.

The main analytical services are described in these pages. For pricing and scheduling, please contact the members of the center below. The customers are strongly advised to contact the laboratory, when the experimental setup is planned, as sample collection has major effect on analysis.


Seppo Auriola, professor
seppo.auriola (at)

School  of Pharmacy
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Eastern Finland
P.O. Box 1627
FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland

Marko Lehtonen, Laboratory Manager, Ph.D.(Chem.)
marko.lehtonen (at)

School of Pharmacy / Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Eastern Finland
P.O.Box 1627
FI-70211 Kuopio
Phone: +358 40 355 2250


Targeted, quantitative metabolite measurements

The LC-MS Metabolomics Center has developed methods for targeted quantitative analyses of various compounds. The methods available at the center (in co-operation with School of Pharmacy) are based on long-term experience in the analysis of specific compounds or compound groups with wide range of instrumentation (LC-MS/MS, GC-MS, HPLC-UV/DAD, HPLC-ECD). The development and validation of these methods follows the international quality guidelines.

As an example, quantitative analyses are available for the following compounds:

  • cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • dopamine and its metabolites
  • endocannabinoids
  • lysophosphocholines
  • noradrenaline and its metabolites
  • polyamines: free (DAP, PUT, CAD, SPD, SPM) monoacetylated (AcPUT, AcCAD, N(1)AcSPD, N(8)AcSPD, N(1)AcSPM) and diacetylated (DiAcPUT, DiAcCAD, DiAcSPD, DiAcSPM)
  • serotonin (5-HT)
  • steroids in serum and tissue: 11-deoxycortisol, 17-OH-pregnenolone, 21-OH-progesterone, aldosterone, androstanedione, androstenediol, androstenedione, androsterone, corticosterone, cortisol, cortisone, DHEA, DHT, estradiol, estrone, etiocholanone, pregnenolone, progesterone, testosterone
  • total fatty acid content
  • Targeted protein quantitation (GLUT1, OATP, LAT1, COX2, MRP, etc)
  • Pharmaceuticals (e.g., atorvastatin, alprenolol, atenolol, metoprolol, pindolol, bupivacaine, entacapone, tolcapone, levodopa, carbidopa, midazolam, nimodipine, NSAIDs, perphenazine, tamsulosine, buprenorphine)

Screening and identification

The high-resolution mass spectrometers are used for screening and identification of unknown substances in the samples. LC separation with accurate mass measurement and MS/MS fragmentation is the method of choice for screening of unknown and predicted compounds in biological, pharmaceutical, and environmental samples. This instrument technique is also used for non-targeted metabolite profiling, i.e., metabolomics and/or lipidomics studies. Identification is based on measurement of the elemental composition, isotopic pattern, use of MS/MS data banks, and comparison with pure standards.

In addition to non-targeted metabolite profiling, this technology may be used in studies involving drug metabolism, detection of endogenic compounds or pollutants in biological samples, analysis of plant chemicals, or analysis of degradants and extractables/leachable in pharmaceutical packing materials, in process control, and in analysis of environmental contaminants.

For example, see:

Lehtonen M, Storvik M, Malinen H, Hyytiä P, Lakso M, Auriola S, Wong G, Callaway JC: Determination of endocannabinoids in nematodes and human brain tissue by liquid chromatography electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2011 Apr 1;879(11-12):677-94.

Häkkinen MR, Heinosalo T, Saarinen N, Linnanen T, Voutilainen R, Lakka T, Jääskeläinen J, Poutanen M, Auriola S: Analysis by LC-MS/MS of endogenous steroids from human serum, plasma, endometrium and endometriotic tissue. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2018 Jan 31;152:165-172.

Ramsay E, Ruponen M, Picardat T, Tengvall U, Tuomainen M, Auriola S, Toropainen E, Urtti A, Del Amo EM. Impact of Chemical Structure on Conjunctival Drug Permeability: Adopting Porcine Conjunctiva and Cassette Dosing for Construction of In Silico Model. J Pharm Sci. 2017 Sep;106(9):2463-2471.

Zhang Z, Uchida Y, Hirano S, Ando D, Kubo Y, Auriola S, Akanuma SI, Hosoya KI, Urtti A, Terasaki T, Tachikawa M: Inner Blood-Retinal Barrier Dominantly Expresses Breast Cancer Resistance Protein: Comparative Quantitative Targeted Absolute Proteomics Study of CNS Barriers in Pig. Mol Pharm. 2017 Nov 6;14(11):3729-3738.