Metabolomics enables the profiling of large numbers of small molecules in cells, tissues and biological fluids. These molecules, which include amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleotides and their metabolites, can be detected quantitatively. Metabolomic methods, often focused on the information-rich analytical techniques of NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, have potential for early diagnosis, monitoring therapy and defining disease pathogenesis in many therapeutic areas, including rheumatic diseases. By performing global metabolite profiling, also known as untargeted metabolomics, new discoveries linking cellular pathways to biological mechanisms are being revealed and are shaping our understanding of cell biology, physiology and medicine. These pathways can potentially be targeted to diagnose and treat patients with immune-mediated diseases.