The adverse health effects of environmental exposure to gaseous and particulate components of vehicular emissions are a major concern among urban populations. A link has been established between respiratory exposure to vehicular emissions and the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but the mechanisms driving this interaction remain unknown. Chronic inhalation exposure to mixed vehicle emissions has been linked to CVD in animal models. This study evaluated the temporal effects of acute exposure to mixed vehicle emissions (MVE; mixed gasoline and diesel emissions) on potentially active metabolites in the serum of exposed mice. C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to a single 6-hour exposure to filtered air (FA) or MVE (100 or 300 mu g/m(3)) by whole body inhalation. Immediately after and 18 hours after the end of the exposure period, animals were sacrificed for serum and tissue collection. Serum was analyzed for metabolites that were differentially present between treatment groups and time points. Changes in metabolite levels suggestive of increased oxidative stress (oxidized glutathione, cysteine disulfide, taurine), lipid peroxidation (13-HODE, 9-HODE), energy metabolism (lactate, glycerate, branched chain amino acid catabolites, butrylcarnitine, fatty acids), and inflammation (DiHOME, palmitoyl ethanolamide) were observed immediately after the end of exposure in the serum of animals exposed to MVE relative to those exposed to FA. By 18 hours post exposure, serum metabolite differences between animals exposed to MVE versus those exposed to FA were less pronounced. These findings highlight complex metabolomics alterations in the circulation following inhalation exposure to a common source of combustion emissions.