Targeted Metabolomics Services


Updated 21/12/2022

What is measured?

Synonyms: α-Hydroxybutyrate, 2-hydroxybutyric acid
Method(s): GC-MS/MS (1).

What is 2-hydroxybutyrate?

2-Hydroxybutyrate (aHB) is an organic acid that is derived from α-ketobutyrate, which is generated during methionine and threonine catabolism or glutathione synthesis (cysteine formation). aHB is an early biomarker of insulin resistance and impaired glucose regulation (2) that appears to arise due to increased lipid oxidation and oxidative stress.


Assessment of diabetes status and impaired glucose tolerance.

Specimen, collection and processing

Patient/subject: No special precaution.
Matrix: Serum or EDTA plasma.
Volume: Minimum volume is 50 µL, but 200 µL is optimal and allows reanalysis.
Preparation and stability: Probably stable.


Frozen, on dry ice. (for general instruction on transportation, click here)

Reported values, interpretation

Reported values: 10-60 µmol/L
Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC): na.


1. Midttun, Ø., McCann, A., Aarseth, O., Krokeide, M., Kvalheim, G., Meyer, K., and Ueland, P.M. (2016). Combined measurement of 6 fat-soluble vitamins and 26 water-soluble functional vitamin markers and amino acids in 50 μL of serum or plasma by high-throughput mass spectrometry. Anal Chem 88, 10427-436.
2. Cobb, J., Eckhart, A., Motsinger-Reif, A., Carr, B., Groop, L., and Ferrannini, E. (2016). α-Hydroxybutyric acid is a selective metabolite biomarker of impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetes Care 39, 988-995.

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