Targeted chiral lipidomics analysis

Hwa Lee Seon, Michelle V. Williams, Ian A. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics are proving to be very useful techniques, which have impacted significantly on our understanding mechanisms of human disease. However, this systems biology approach has several drawbacks than can be overcome by the integration of metabonomics and lipidomics. We have developed a targeted lipidomics approach that makes it possible to directly analyze chiral lipids generated in cellular systems. Bioactive lipids are usually present in trace amounts as enanatiomers and regioisomers that require separation before they can be analyzed by mass spectrometry. Normal phase chiral chromatography is generally used to resolve bioactive lipid enanatiomers. However, conventional electrospray and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization/tandem mass spectrometry have limited sensitivity when normal phase solvents are used, which makes it difficult to conduct studies when only trace amounts of the bioactive lipids are present. The use of electron capture atmospheric pressure chemical ionization/tandem mass spectrometry overcomes this problem. Enantiomers and regioisomers of targeted bioactive lipids can be quantified using stable isotope dilution methodology coupled with normal phase chiral chromatography and electron capture atmospheric chemical ionization/tandem mass spectrometry. A targeted lipidomics profile from rat epithelial cells transfected with cyclooxygenase-2 and maintained in culture was obtained. Inhibition with the non-selective cyclooxygenase inhibitor aspirin increased the formation of 15(R)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid in the cells although it completely inhibited formation of the 15(S)-enantiomer and prostaglandin E2. New mass spectrometry instrumentation with an improved atmospheric pressure chemical ionization source was found to be an order of magnitude more sensitive than existing instruments for analysis of bioactive lipids using electron capture methodology. This type of mass spectrometer will permit a more detailed analysis of cellular bioactive lipid production than has been possible previously. It will also permit in vivo targeted lipidomics studies to be conducted using biological fluids derived from animal models and human subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
JournalProstaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Sept


  • Aspirin
  • Chiral analysis
  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • Electron capture
  • Epithelial cells
  • Targeted lipidomics


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