Microglial cells play a major role in host defense of the central nervous system. Once activated, several functional properties are up-regulated including migration, phagocytosis, and secretion of inflammatory mediators such as cytokines and chemokines. Little, if anything, is known about the metabolic changes that occur during the activation process. High-resolution 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectra obtained from perchloric acid extracts of human microglial cell cultures exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or morphine were used to both identify and quantify the metabolites. We found that human microglia exposed to LPS had increased concentrations of glutamate and lactate, whereas the cells exposed to morphine had decreased concentrations in creatinine, taurine, and thymine. Glutamate and creatinine were the key metabolites differentiating between the two stimuli. These results are discussed in terms of activation and differences in the inflammatory response of human microglial cells to LPS and morphine.