INCA 2.0: A tool for integrated, dynamic modeling of NMR- and MS-based isotopomer measurements and rigorous metabolic flux analysis

Mohsin Rahim, Mukundan Ragavan, Stanislaw Deja, Matthew E. Merritt, Shawn C. Burgess, Jamey D. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) combines experimental measurements and computational modeling to determine biochemical reaction rates in live biological systems. Advancements in analytical instrumentation, such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (MS), have facilitated chemical separation and quantification of isotopically enriched metabolites. However, no software packages have been previously described that can integrate isotopomer measurements from both MS and NMR analytical platforms and have the flexibility to estimate metabolic fluxes from either isotopic steady-state or dynamic labeling experiments. By applying physiologically relevant cardiac and hepatic metabolic models to assess NMR isotopomer measurements, we herein test and validate new modeling capabilities of our enhanced flux analysis software tool, INCA 2.0. We demonstrate that INCA 2.0 can simulate and regress steady-state 13C NMR datasets from perfused hearts with an accuracy comparable to other established flux assessment tools. Furthermore, by simulating the infusion of three different 13C acetate tracers, we show that MFA based on dynamic 13C NMR measurements can more precisely resolve cardiac fluxes compared to isotopically steady-state flux analysis. Finally, we show that estimation of hepatic fluxes using combined 13C NMR and MS datasets improves the precision of estimated fluxes by up to 50%. Overall, our results illustrate how the recently added NMR data modeling capabilities of INCA 2.0 can enable entirely new experimental designs that lead to improved flux resolution and can be applied to a wide range of biological systems and measurement time courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-285
Number of pages11
JournalMetabolic Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolic flux analysis
  • Metabolic modeling software
  • Metabolomics
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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