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1.  A novel strategy for the comprehensive analysis of the biomolecular composition of isolated plasma membranes 
A methodology for rapid, high-purity isolation of plasma membranes using superparamagnetic nanoparticles is described. The method is illustrated with high-resolution proteomic, glycomic and lipidomic analyses of presenilin-deficient cells.
We present a novel strategy based on cationic phospholipids-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPMNPs) to isolate plasma membranes with very high purity and at a preparative scale.The SPMNP-based isolation method is compatible with subsequent analysis of the biomolecular composition of plasma membranes, including proteomics, lipidomics and N-glycomics analysis.A comparative ‘omics' analysis of plasma membranes from wild-type, presenilin-deficient and human presenilin-1-rescued fibroblasts revealed convergent changes in proteins and lipids, suggesting an underlying endosomal transport defect.Our methodology allows for the systematic set-up of comprehensive plasma membrane inventories: alterations in the composition of the cell surface may potentially identify novel biomarkers or drug targets.
One of the major goals of this paper was to establish a robust method for plasma membrane (PM) isolation in order to perform a full analysis of their biomolecular composition. Using thermal decomposition, we manufactured superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPMNPs) that we rendered water soluble and monodisperse by subsequent coupling of NH2 phospholipids. When incubated with cell monolayers, these cationic phospholipids-SPMNPs remain predominately localized at the cell surface. We applied these unexpected feature of phospholipids-SPMNPs to establish a novel protocol to isolate high yields of highly pure PMs. Due to the superb quality and quantity of isolated PM fractions, we could perform a comprehensive and comparative biomolecular profiling on this subcellular compartment that included proteomics, N-glycoproteomics, lipidomics and N-glycan profiling. This method was subsequently applied to compare the biomolecular composition of PMs isolated from wild-type and presenilin-deficient and human presenilin-1-rescued mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). For the first time, we succeeded in identifying convergent changes in the biomolecular composition of the cell surface caused by presenilin gene deficiency. Furthermore, the observed proteomic/cholesterol changes were restored in presenilin-deficient MEFs rescued with the human presenilin-1 ortholog. These (subtle) changes in protein and lipid composition suggest an underlying endosomal transport defect in presenilin-deficient cell lines that is the subject of ongoing research.
Moreover, and extending the versatility of our method, we could show that our PM isolations are compatible with fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis (FACE), allowing for N-glycan profiling of the cell surface. Hitherto, the N-glycan composition was measured on total cell extracts where the sensitivity to detect mature N-glycan chains is significantly hampered by the higher abundances of intracellular immature N-glycan intermediates. Finally, using the γ-secretase protein complex as a model, we confirm that we can study the activity and composition of active protein complexes in their native membrane environment. Our strategy incorporates for the first time most available omics analyses and this on a single isolated membrane compartment. As such, it allows for the monitoring and identification of systematic changes at the cell surface, for instance during differentiation and polarization or as a consequence of environmental insults, ER-stress, apoptotic stimuli and altered lipogenesis. The identification of alterations in the PM protein and lipid composition, as they occur as a consequence of disease, is therefore of paramount importance in several fields of experimental medicine, including immunology, cancer and stem cell research. Our methodology provides also a foundation to systematically start collecting PM ‘fingerprints' of an increasing number of cells. The resulting integrated and comprehensive databases may become the starting point of a ‘subcellular systems biology' approach of the cell's limiting membrane. Since PM proteins provide many pathological relevant biomarkers representing two-thirds of the currently used drug targets, this novel technology has great potential for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications.
We manufactured a novel type of lipid-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles that allow for a rapid isolation of plasma membranes (PMs), enabling high-resolution proteomic, glycomic and lipidomic analyses of the cell surface. We used this technology to characterize the effects of presenilin knockout on the PM composition of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. We found that many proteins are selectively downregulated at the cell surface of presenilin knockout cells concomitant with lowered surface levels of cholesterol and certain sphingomyelin species, indicating defects in specific endosomal transport routes to and/or from the cell surface. Snapshots of N-glycoproteomics and cell surface glycan profiling further underscored the power and versatility of this novel methodology. Since PM proteins provide many pathologically relevant biomarkers representing two-thirds of the currently used drug targets, this novel technology has great potential for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications.
PMCID: PMC3261717  PMID: 22027552
eukaryotic cell systems; glycomics; lipidomics; presenilin, proteomics
2.  A Protective Lipidomic Biosignature Associated with a Balanced Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio in fat-1 Transgenic Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e96221.
A balanced omega-6/omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratio has been linked to health benefits and the prevention of many chronic diseases. Current dietary intervention studies with different sources of omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3) lack appropriate control diets and carry many other confounding factors derived from genetic and environmental variability. In our study, we used the fat-1 transgenic mouse model as a proxy for long-term omega-3 supplementation to determine, in a well-controlled manner, the molecular phenotype associated with a balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio. The fat-1 mouse can convert omega-6 to omega-3 PUFAs, which protect against a wide variety of diseases including chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. Both wild-type (WT) and fat-1 mice were subjected to an identical diet containing 10% corn oil, which has a high omega-6 content similar to that of the Western diet, for a six-month duration. We used a multi-platform lipidomic approach to compare the plasma lipidome between fat-1 and WT mice. In fat-1 mice, an unbiased profiling showed a significant increase in the levels of unesterified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), EPA-containing cholesteryl ester, and omega-3 lysophosphospholipids. The increase in omega-3 lipids is accompanied by a significant reduction in omega-6 unesterified docosapentaenoic acid (omega-6 DPA) and DPA-containing cholesteryl ester as well as omega-6 phospholipids and triacylglycerides. Targeted lipidomics profiling highlighted a remarkable increase in EPA-derived diols and epoxides formed via the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) pathway in the plasma of fat-1 mice compared with WT mice. Integration of the results of untargeted and targeted analyses has identified a lipidomic biosignature that may underlie the healthful phenotype associated with a balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio, and can potentially be used as a circulating biomarker for monitoring the health status and the efficacy of omega-3 intervention in humans.
PMCID: PMC3997567  PMID: 24760204
3.  Plasma Lysophosphatidylcholine Levels Are Reduced in Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41456.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) are associated with increased circulating free fatty acids and triacylglycerols. However, very little is known about specific molecular lipid species associated with these diseases. In order to gain further insight into this, we performed plasma lipidomic analysis in a rodent model of obesity and insulin resistance as well as in lean, obese and obese individuals with T2DM.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Lipidomic analysis using liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry revealed marked changes in the plasma of 12 week high fat fed mice. Although a number of triacylglycerol and diacylglycerol species were elevated along with of a number of sphingolipids, a particularly interesting finding was the high fat diet (HFD)-induced reduction in lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) levels. As liver, skeletal muscle and adipose tissue play an important role in metabolism, we next determined whether the HFD altered LPCs in these tissues. In contrast to our findings in plasma, only very modest changes in tissue LPCs were noted. To determine when the change in plasma LPCs occurred in response to the HFD, mice were studied after 1, 3 and 6 weeks of HFD. The HFD caused rapid alterations in plasma LPCs with most changes occurring within the first week. Consistent with our rodent model, data from our small human cohort showed a reduction in a number of LPC species in obese and obese individuals with T2DM. Interestingly, no differences were found between the obese otherwise healthy individuals and the obese T2DM patients.
Irrespective of species, our lipidomic profiling revealed a generalized decrease in circulating LPC species in states of obesity. Moreover, our data indicate that diet and adiposity, rather than insulin resistance or diabetes per se, play an important role in altering the plasma LPC profile.
PMCID: PMC3405068  PMID: 22848500
4.  Metabolic Regulation in Progression to Autoimmune Diabetes 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(10):e1002257.
Recent evidence from serum metabolomics indicates that specific metabolic disturbances precede β-cell autoimmunity in humans and can be used to identify those children who subsequently progress to type 1 diabetes. The mechanisms behind these disturbances are unknown. Here we show the specificity of the pre-autoimmune metabolic changes, as indicated by their conservation in a murine model of type 1 diabetes. We performed a study in non-obese prediabetic (NOD) mice which recapitulated the design of the human study and derived the metabolic states from longitudinal lipidomics data. We show that female NOD mice who later progress to autoimmune diabetes exhibit the same lipidomic pattern as prediabetic children. These metabolic changes are accompanied by enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, normoglycemia, upregulation of insulinotropic amino acids in islets, elevated plasma leptin and adiponectin, and diminished gut microbial diversity of the Clostridium leptum group. Together, the findings indicate that autoimmune diabetes is preceded by a state of increased metabolic demands on the islets resulting in elevated insulin secretion and suggest alternative metabolic related pathways as therapeutic targets to prevent diabetes.
Author Summary
We have recently found that distinct metabolic disturbances precede β-cell autoimmunity in children who later progress to type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here we performed a murine study using non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice that recapitulated the protocol used in human, followed up by independent studies where NOD mice were studied in relation to risk of diabetes progression. We found that young female NOD mice who later progress to autoimmune diabetes exhibit the same lipidomic pattern as prediabetic children. These metabolic changes are accompanied by enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, upregulation of insulinotropic amino acids in islets, elevated plasma leptin and adiponectin, and diminished gut microbial diversity of the Clostridium leptum subgroup. The metabolic phenotypes observed in our study could be relevant as end points for studies investigating T1D pathogenesis and/or responses to interventions. By proceeding from a clinical study via metabolomics and modeling to an experimental model using a similar study design, then evolving further to tissue-specific studies, we hereby also present a conceptually novel approach to reversed translation that may be useful in future therapeutic studies in the context of prevention and treatment of T1D as well as of other diseases characterized by long prodromal periods.
PMCID: PMC3203065  PMID: 22046124
5.  Shotgun Lipidomics by Sequential Precursor Ion Fragmentation on a Hybrid Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer 
Metabolites  2012;2(1):195-213.
Shotgun lipidomics has evolved into a myriad of multi-dimensional strategies for molecular lipid characterization, including bioinformatics tools for mass spectrum interpretation and quantitative measurements to study systems-lipidomics in complex biological extracts. Taking advantage of spectral mass accuracy, scan speed and sensitivity of improved quadrupole linked time-of-flight mass analyzers, we developed a bias-free global lipid profiling acquisition technique of sequential precursor ion fragmentation called MS/MSALL. This generic information-independent tandem mass spectrometry (MS) technique consists of a Q1 stepped mass isolation window through a set mass range in small increments, fragmenting and recording all product ions and neutral losses. Through the accurate MS and MS/MS information, the molecular lipid species are resolved, including distinction of isobaric and isomeric species, and composed into more precise lipidomic outputs. The method demonstrates good reproducibility and at least 3 orders of dynamic quantification range for isomeric ceramides in human plasma. More than 400 molecular lipids in human plasma were uncovered and quantified in less than 12 min, including acquisitions in both positive and negative polarity modes. We anticipate that the performance of sequential precursor ion fragmentation both in quality and throughput will lead to the uncovering of new avenues throughout the biomedical research community, enhance biomarker discovery and provide novel information target discovery programs as it will prospectively shed new insight into affected metabolic and signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3901199  PMID: 24957374
MS/MSALL; lipidomics; lipid; QTOF; mass spectrometry
6.  Characterization and direct quantitation of sphingoid base-1-phosphates from lipid extracts: a shotgun lipidomics approach 
Journal of lipid research  2006;47(8):1865-1873.
Here, we have extended shotgun lipidomics for the characterization and quantitation of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate (DHS1P) in crude lipid extracts in the presence of ammonium hydroxide by using precursor ion scanning of m/z 79.0 (corresponding to [PO3]−) in the negative-ion mode. It is demonstrated that a broad linear dynamic range for the quantitation of both S1P and DHS1P and a detection limit at low amol/μl concentration are achieved using this approach. The developed method for the quantitation of sphingoid base-1-phosphates is generally simpler and more efficient than other previously published methods. Multiple factors influencing the quantitation of sphingoid base-1-phosphates, including ion suppression, extraction efficiency, and potential overlapping with other molecular species, were examined extensively and/or are discussed. Mass levels of S1P and DHS1P in multiple biological samples, including human plasma, mouse plasma, and mouse brain tissues (e.g., cortex, cerebellum, spinal cord, and brain stem), were determined by the developed methodology. Accordingly, this technique, as a new addition to shotgun lipidomics technology, will be extremely useful for understanding the pathways of sphingolipid metabolism and for exploring the important roles of sphingoid base-1-phosphates in a wide range of physiological and pathological studies.—Jiang, X., and X. Han. Characterization and direct quantitation of sphingoid base-1-phosphates from lipid extracts: a shotgun lipidomics approach.
PMCID: PMC2141545  PMID: 16682747
dihydrosphingosine-1-phosphate; electrospray ionization mass spectrometry; brain tissues; sphingolipid metabolism
7.  A reversed-phase capillary ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) method for comprehensive top-down/bottom-up lipid profiling 
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry  2012;402(9):2923-2933.
Lipidomics is a critical part of metabolomics and aims to study all the lipids within a living system. We present here the development and evaluation of a sensitive capillary UPLC-MS method for comprehensive top-down/bottom-up lipid profiling. Three different stationary phases were evaluated in terms of peak capacity, linearity, reproducibility, and limit of quantification (LOQ) using a mixture of lipid standards representative of the lipidome. The relative standard deviations of the retention times and peak abundances of the lipid standards were 0.29% and 7.7%, respectively, when using the optimized method. The linearity was acceptable at >0.99 over 3 orders of magnitude, and the LOQs were sub-fmol. To demonstrate the performance of the method in the analysis of complex samples, we analyzed lipids extracted from a human cell line, rat plasma, and a model human skin tissue, identifying 446, 444, and 370 unique lipids, respectively. Overall, the method provided either higher coverage of the lipidome, greater measurement sensitivity, or both, when compared to other approaches of global, untargeted lipid profiling based on chromatography coupled with MS.
PMCID: PMC3531553  PMID: 22354571
ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC); tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS); electrospray ionization (ESI); top-down/bottom-up lipid profiling
8.  Comparative Plasma Lipidome between Human and Cynomolgus Monkey: Are Plasma Polar Lipids Good Biomarkers for Diabetic Monkeys? 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19731.
Non-human primates (NHP) are now being considered as models for investigating human metabolic diseases including diabetes. Analyses of cholesterol and triglycerides in plasma derived from NHPs can easily be achieved using methods employed in humans. Information pertaining to other lipid species in monkey plasma, however, is lacking and requires comprehensive experimental analysis.
Methodologies/Principal Findings
We examined the plasma lipidome from 16 cynomolgus monkey, Macaca fascicularis, using liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC/MS). We established novel analytical approaches, which are based on a simple gradient elution, to quantify polar lipids in plasma including (i) glycerophospholipids (phosphatidylcholine, PC; phosphatidylethanolamine, PE; phosphatidylinositol, PI; phosphatidylglycerol, PG; phosphatidylserine, PS; phosphatidic acid, PA); (ii) sphingolipids (sphingomyelin, SM; ceramide, Cer; Glucocyl-ceramide, GluCer; ganglioside mannoside 3, GM3). Lipidomic analysis had revealed that the plasma of human and cynomolgus monkey were of similar compositions, with PC, SM, PE, LPC and PI constituting the major polar lipid species present. Human plasma contained significantly higher levels of plasmalogen PE species (p<0.005) and plasmalogen PC species (p<0.0005), while cynomolgus monkey had higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acyls (PUFA) in PC, PE, PS and PI. Notably, cynomolgus monkey had significantly lower levels of glycosphingolipids, including GluCer (p<0.0005) and GM3 (p<0.0005), but higher level of Cer (p<0.0005) in plasma than human. We next investigated the biochemical alterations in blood lipids of 8 naturally occurring diabetic cynomolgus monkeys when compared with 8 healthy controls.
For the first time, we demonstrated that the plasma of human and cynomolgus monkey were of similar compositions, but contained different mol distribution of individual molecular species. Diabetic monkeys exhibited decreased levels of sphingolipids, which are microdomain-associated lipids and are thought to be associated with insulin sensitivity. Significant increases in PG species, which are precursors for cardiolipin biosynthesis in mitochondria, were found in fasted diabetic monkeys (n = 8).
PMCID: PMC3087804  PMID: 21573191
9.  Altered Sphingolipid Metabolism in Patients with Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer 
Biomolecules  2013;3(3):435-448.
Although numerous genetic mutations and amplifications have been identified in pancreatic cancer, much of the molecular pathogenesis of the disease remains undefined. While proteomic and transcriptomic analyses have been utilized to probe and characterize pancreatic tumors, lipidomic analyses have not been applied to identify perturbations in pancreatic cancer patient samples. Thus, we utilized a mass spectrometry-based lipidomic approach, focused towards the sphingolipid class of lipids, to quantify changes in human pancreatic cancer tumor and plasma specimens. Subgroup analysis revealed that patients with positive lymph node metastasis have a markedly higher level of ceramide species (C16:0 and C24:1) in their tumor specimens compared to pancreatic cancer patients without nodal disease or to patients with pancreatitis. Also of interest, ceramide metabolites, including phosphorylated (sphingosine- and sphinganine-1-phosphate) and glycosylated (cerebroside) species were elevated in the plasma, but not the pancreas, of pancreatic cancer patients with nodal disease. Analysis of plasma level of cytokine and growth factors revealed that IL-6, IL-8, CCL11 (eotaxin), EGF and IP10 (interferon inducible protein 10, CXCL10) were elevated in patients with positive lymph nodes metastasis, but that only IP10 and EGF directly correlated with several sphingolipid changes. Taken together, these data indicate that sphingolipid metabolism is altered in human pancreatic cancer and associated with advanced disease. Assessing plasma and/or tissue sphingolipids could potentially risk stratify patients in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC4030952  PMID: 24970174
sphingolipids; pancreatic cancer; ceramide; lipidomics; CXCL10
10.  Integrated lipidomics and transcriptomic analysis of peripheral blood reveals significantly enriched pathways in type 2 diabetes mellitus 
BMC Medical Genomics  2013;6(Suppl 1):S12.
Insulin resistance is a key element in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Plasma free fatty acids were assumed to mediate the insulin resistance, while the relationship between lipid and glucose disposal remains to be demonstrated across liver, skeletal muscle and blood.
We profiled both lipidomics and gene expression of 144 total peripheral blood samples, 84 from patients with T2D and 60 from healthy controls. Then, factor and partial least squares models were used to perform a combined analysis of lipidomics and gene expression profiles to uncover the bioprocesses that are associated with lipidomic profiles in type 2 diabetes.
According to factor analysis of the lipidomic profile, several species of lipids were found to be correlated with different phenotypes, including diabetes-related C23:2CE, C23:3CE, C23:4CE, ePE36:4, ePE36:5, ePE36:6; race-related (African-American) PI36:1; and sex-related PE34:1 and LPC18:2. The major variance of gene expression profile was not caused by known factors and no significant difference can be directly derived from differential gene expression profile. However, the combination of lipidomic and gene expression analyses allows us to reveal the correlation between the altered lipid profile with significantly enriched pathways, such as one carbon pool by folate, arachidonic acid metabolism, insulin signaling pathway, amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism, propanoate metabolism, and starch and sucrose metabolism. The genes in these pathways showed a good capability to classify diabetes samples.
Combined analysis of gene expression and lipidomic profiling reveals type 2 diabetes-associated lipid species and enriched biological pathways in peripheral blood, while gene expression profile does not show direct correlation. Our findings provide a new clue to better understand the mechanism of disordered lipid metabolism in association with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3552685  PMID: 23369247
11.  Dietary fat and not calcium supplementation or dairy product consumption is associated with changes in anthropometrics during a randomized, placebo-controlled energy-restriction trial 
Insufficient calcium intake has been proposed to cause unbalanced energy partitioning leading to obesity. However, weight loss interventions including dietary calcium or dairy product consumption have not reported changes in lipid metabolism measured by the plasma lipidome.
The objective of this study was to determine the relationships between dairy product or supplemental calcium intake with changes in the plasma lipidome and body composition during energy restriction. A secondary objective of this study was to explore the relationships among calculated macronutrient composition of the energy restricted diet to changes in the plasma lipidome, and body composition during energy restriction. Overweight adults (n = 61) were randomized into one of three intervention groups including a deficit of 500kcal/d: 1) placebo; 2) 900 mg/d calcium supplement; and 3) 3-4 servings of dairy products/d plus a placebo supplement. Plasma fatty acid methyl esters of cholesterol ester, diacylglycerol, free fatty acids, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine and triacylglycerol were quantified by capillary gas chromatography.
After adjustments for energy and protein (g/d) intake, there was no significant effect of treatment on changes in weight, waist circumference or body composition. Plasma lipidome did not differ among dietary treatment groups. Stepwise regression identified correlations between reported intake of monounsaturated fat (% of energy) and changes in % lean mass (r = -0.44, P < 0.01) and % body fat (r = 0.48, P < 0.001). Polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with the % change in waist circumference (r = 0.44, P < 0.01). Dietary saturated fat was not associated with any changes in anthropometrics or the plasma lipidome.
Dairy product consumption or calcium supplementation during energy restriction over the course of 12 weeks did not affect plasma lipids. Independent of calcium and dairy product consumption, short-term energy restriction altered body composition. Reported dietary fat composition of energy restricted diets was associated with the degree of change in body composition in these overweight and obese individuals.
PMCID: PMC3204227  PMID: 21970320
12.  Top-Down Lipidomics Reveals Ether Lipid Deficiency in Blood Plasma of Hypertensive Patients 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6261.
Dyslipoproteinemia, obesity and insulin resistance are integrative constituents of the metabolic syndrome and are major risk factors for hypertension. The objective of this study was to determine whether hypertension specifically affects the plasma lipidome independently and differently from the effects induced by obesity and insulin resistance.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We screened the plasma lipidome of 19 men with hypertension and 51 normotensive male controls by top-down shotgun profiling on a LTQ Orbitrap hybrid mass spectrometer. The analysis encompassed 95 lipid species of 10 major lipid classes. Obesity resulted in generally higher lipid load in blood plasma, while the content of tri- and diacylglycerols increased dramatically. Insulin resistance, defined by HOMA-IR >3.5 and controlled for BMI, had little effect on the plasma lipidome. Importantly, we observed that in blood plasma of hypertensive individuals the overall content of ether lipids decreased. Ether phosphatidylcholines and ether phosphatidylethanolamines, that comprise arachidonic (20∶4) and docosapentaenoic (22∶5) fatty acid moieties, were specifically diminished. The content of free cholesterol also decreased, although conventional clinical lipid homeostasis indices remained unaffected.
Top-down shotgun lipidomics demonstrated that hypertension is accompanied by specific reduction of the content of ether lipids and free cholesterol that occurred independently of lipidomic alterations induced by obesity and insulin resistance. These results may form the basis for novel preventive and dietary strategies alleviating the severity of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2705678  PMID: 19603071
13.  Effect of probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG intervention on global serum lipidomic profiles in healthy adults 
AIM: To investigate the effect of three weeks’ intervention with a probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) bacteria on global serum lipidomic profiles and evaluate whether the changes in inflammatory variables (CRP, TNF-α and IL-6) are reflected in the global lipidomic profiles of healthy adults.
METHODS: We performed UPLC/MS-based global lipidomic platform analysis of serum samples (n = 26) in a substudy of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled 3-wk clinical intervention trial investigating the immunomodulatory effects of probiotics in healthy adults.
RESULTS: A total of 407 lipids were identified, corresponding to 13 different lipid classes. Serum samples showed decreases in the levels of lysophosphatidylcholines (LysoGPCho), sphingomyelins (SM) and several glycerophosphatidylcholines (GPCho), while triacylglycerols (TAG) were mainly increased in the probiotic LGG group during the intervention. Among the inflammatory variables, IL-6 was moderately associated by changes in global lipidomic profiles, with the top-ranked lipid associated with IL-6 being the proinflammatory LysoGPCho (20:4). There was a weak association between the lipidomic profiles and the two other inflammatory markers, TNF-α and CRP.
CONCLUSION: This was the first study to investigate the effects of probiotic intervention on global lipidomic profiles in humans. There are indications that probiotic LGG intervention may lead to changes in serum global lipid profiles, as reflected in decreased GPCho, LysoGPCho and SM as well as mainly increased TAG.
PMCID: PMC2712851  PMID: 18506924
Probiotic; Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG; Lipidomic; Inflammatory mediators; Healthy adults
14.  Proteomic and lipidomic signatures of lipid metabolism in NASH-associated hepatocellular carcinoma 
Cancer research  2013;73(15):10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3797.
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a common pre-neoplastic condition of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Mice with hepatocytic deletion of Pten develop NASH and HCC later in life. This model is highly valuable for studies aimed at identifying the molecular mechanism by which metabolic disorders contribute to tumor development. We applied proteomic and lipidomic profiling approaches to Pten null NASH liver and tumors. Circulating fatty acid composition was also characterized in these mice. The relevance to human NASH and HCC was further validated. This integrative proteomic and lipidomic study from mouse to human and from liver to blood, identified the following disease signatures: 1- an HCC signature: upregulated hepatic scd1/scd2, fads2 and acsl5:acsl1 ratio, elevated vaccenic and erucic acids and reduced margaric and linoleic acids in both liver and plasma; 2- a NASH signature that correlates with tumor burden: upregulated hepatic elovl6, elevated oleic, adrenic and osbond acids and reduced cervonic acid in liver and plasma; and 3- a NASH signature: reduced hepatic and circulating lignoceric and eicosapentaenoic acids. Altogether, these results demonstrate the role of lipid-modifying enzymes converting SFAs to MUFAs in HCC and the importance of an increased ratio of long chain n6-PUFAs over n3-PUFAs in NASH and HCC risk. They also highlight the relevance of the Pten null model for studies related to NASH and HCC and demonstrate that circulating lipid metabolome provides a direct read of lipid changes in the liver. Most importantly, novel candidate targets for HCC diagnosis, therapy, risk assessment and prevention were identified.
PMCID: PMC3855016  PMID: 23749645
Liver cancer; proteomics; lipidomics; NASH
15.  Lipidomic Analysis of the Retina in a Rat Model of Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome: Alterations in Docosahexaenoic Acid Content of Phospholipid Molecular Species 
Journal of neurochemistry  2007;105(3):1032-1047.
Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is a complex hereditary disease caused by an enzymatic defect in the last step of cholesterol biosynthesis. Progressive retinal degeneration occurs in an AY9944-induced rat model of SLOS, with biochemical and electroretinographic hallmarks comparable to the human disease. We evaluated alterations in the non-sterol lipid components of the retina in this model, compared to age-matched controls, using lipidomic analysis. The levels of 16:0–22:6 and 18:0–22:6 phosphatidylcholine molecular species in retinas were less by >50% and >33%, respectively, in rats treated for either two or three months with AY9944. Relative to controls, AY9944 treatment resulted in >60% less di-22:6 and >15% less 18:0–22:6 phosphatidylethanolamine molecular species. The predominant phosphatidylserine molecular species in control retinas were 18:0–22:6 and di-22:6; notably, AY9944 treatment resulted in >80% less di-22:6 phosphatidylserine, relative to controls. Remarkably, these changes occurred in the absence of n3 fatty acid deficiency in plasma or liver. Thus, the retinal lipidome is globally altered in the SLOS rat model, relative to control rats, with the most profound changes being less phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylserine molecular species containing docosahexaenoic acid (22:6). These findings suggest that SLOS may involve additional metabolic compromise beyond the primary enzymatic defect in the cholesterol pathway.
PMCID: PMC2721972  PMID: 18182048
Docosahexaenoic acid; fatty acid; lipidomic analysis; retina; AY9944
16.  Lactosomes: structural and compositional classification of unique nanometer-sized protein lipid particles of human milk 
Milk fat globules (MFG) are accepted primarily as triacylglycerol delivery systems. The identification of nanometer-sized lipid-protein particles termed ‘lactosomes’ that do not contain triacylglycerol raises the question of their possible functions. MFGs were isolated by slow centrifugation and lactosomes were isolated by ultracentrifugation at a density equivalent to plasma HDL (d > 1.063 g/ml) from human milk obtained from six volunteers at different lactation stages. Isolated lactosomes were analyzed and compared with MFGs for their size distribution, lipidome, proteome, and functional activity. Lactosomes from early milk—day 8, were found to be similar in size as those from mature milk >28 days averaging ~25 nm in diameter. In total, 97 non-redundant proteins were identified in the MFG and lactosome fractions, 46 of which were unique to the MFG fraction and 29 of which were unique to the lactosome fraction. The proteins identified in the lactosome and MFG fractions were enriched with proteins identified with immunomodulatory pathways. Unlike MFGs and GM1 laden reconstituted high- density lipoprotein (rHDL) that served as a positive control, lactosomal binding capacity to cholera toxin was weak. Lipidomic analyses found that lactosomes were devoid of triacylglycerol and gangliosides, unlike MFGs, but rich in a variety of phospholipid species. The data found differences in structure, composition and function between lactosomes and MFG suggesting these two particles are derived from different biosynthetic and/or secretory pathways. The results reveal a bioactive lipid-protein, nanometer-length scale particle that is secreted into milk not to supply energy to the infant, but to play unique, protective and regulatory roles.
PMCID: PMC3039697  PMID: 20925428
Milk; lipidome; proteome; fat globule; lactosome
17.  Toward an Animal Model of the Human Tear Film: Biochemical Comparison of the Mouse, Canine, Rabbit, and Human Meibomian Lipidomes 
Secretions that are produced by meibomian glands (also known as meibum) are a major source of lipids for the ocular surface of humans and animals alike. Many animal species have been evaluated for their meibomian lipidomes. However, there have been a very small number of studies in which the animals were compared with humans side by side. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare meibum collected from humans and three typical laboratory animals, canines, mice, and rabbits, for their meibomian lipid composition in order to determine which animal species most resembles humans.
High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas-liquid chromatography (GLC) in combination with mass spectrometry were used to evaluate lipidomes of all tested species.
Among three tested animal species, mice were found to be the closest match to humans in terms of their meibomian lipidomes, while canines were the second closest species. The lipids of these three species were close to each other structurally and, for most lipid classes, quantitatively. The rabbit meibomian lipidome, on the other hand, was vastly different from lipidomes of all other tested species. Interestingly, a previously described class of lipids, acylated omega-hydroxy fatty acids (OAHFA), was found to be present in every tested species as the major amphiphilic component of meibum.
Our side by side comparison of the rabbit and the human meibum demonstrated their vast differences. Thus, the rabbit seems to be a poor animal model of the human tear film, at least when studying its biochemistry and biophysics.
A side by side comparison of the rabbit and the human meibum demonstrated their vast biochemical differences. Thus, the rabbit seems to be a poor animal model of the human tear film studies. Mice and canines, on the other hand, were found to be very similar to humans and should be considered instead.
PMCID: PMC3466071  PMID: 22918629
18.  Serum Metabolome and Lipidome Changes in Adult Patients with Primary Dengue Infection 
Dengue virus (DENV) is the most widespread arbovirus with an estimated 100 million infections occurring every year. Endemic in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world, dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever (DF/DHF) is emerging as a major public health concern. The complex array of concurrent host physiologic changes has hampered a complete understanding of underlying molecular mechanisms of dengue pathogenesis.
Methodology/Principle Findings
Systems level characterization of serum metabolome and lipidome of adult DF patients at early febrile, defervescence, and convalescent stages of DENV infection was performed using liquid chromatography- and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The tractability of following metabolite and lipid changes in a relatively large sample size (n = 44) across three prominent infection stages allowed the identification of critical physiologic changes that coincided with the different stages. Sixty differential metabolites were identified in our metabolomics analysis and the main metabolite classes were free fatty acids, acylcarnitines, phospholipids, and amino acids. Major perturbed metabolic pathways included fatty acid biosynthesis and β-oxidation, phospholipid catabolism, steroid hormone pathway, etc., suggesting the multifactorial nature of human host responses. Analysis of phospholipids and sphingolipids verified the temporal trends and revealed association with lymphocytes and platelets numbers. These metabolites were significantly perturbed during the early stages, and normalized to control levels at convalescent stage, suggesting their potential utility as prognostic markers.
DENV infection causes temporally distinct serum metabolome and lipidome changes, and many of the differential metabolites are involved in acute inflammatory responses. Our global analyses revealed early anti-inflammatory responses working in concert to modulate early pro-inflammatory processes, thus preventing the host from development of pathologies by excessive or prolonged inflammation. This study is the first example of how an omic- approach can divulge the extensive, concurrent, and dynamic host responses elicited by DENV and offers plausible physiological insights to why DF is self limiting.
Author Summary
Dengue virus is the most widespread arbovirus and a major public health threat in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. As yet, little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying infection, and there is no specific treatment or vaccine that is currently effective against the disease. Metabolomics and lipidomics provide global views of metabolome and lipidome landscapes and implicate metabolic to disease phenotype. We performed serum metabolic and lipidomic profiling on a cohort of dengue patients with three sampling time points at early febrile, defervescence, and convalescent stages via mass spectrometry-based analytical platforms. Compared with healthy subjects, approximately two hundred metabolites showed significant difference in dengue patients, and 60 were identified. This study revealed that in primary dengue infection, the host metabolome is tightly regulated, with active, early anti-inflammatory processes modulating the pro-inflammatory processes, suggesting the self-limiting phenotype of dengue fever. Major perturbed metabolic pathways included fatty acid biosynthesis, fatty acid β-oxidation, phospholipid catabolism, steroid hormone pathway, etc. This represents a first report on the characterization of the serum metabolome and significantly advances our understanding on host and dengue virus interactions. These differential metabolites have the potential as biomarkers for disease monitoring and evaluation of therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3744433  PMID: 23967362
19.  Lipidomic Profiling of Model Organisms and the World’s Major Pathogens 
Biochimie  2012;95(1):109-115.
Lipidomics is a subspecialty of metabolomics that focuses on water insoluble metabolites that form membrane barriers. Most lipidomic databases catalog lipids from common model organisms, like humans or Escherichia coli. However, model organisms’ lipid profiles show surprisingly little overlap with that of specialized pathogens, creating the need for organism-specific lipidomic databases. Here we review rapid progress in lipidomic platform development with regard to chromatography, detection and bioinformatics. We emphasize new methods of comparative lipidomics, which use aligned datasets to identify lipids changed after introducing a biological variable. These new methods provide an unprecedented ability to broadly and quantitatively describe lipidic change during biological processes and identify changed lipids with low error rates.
PMCID: PMC3988492  PMID: 22971440
Hypertension  2013;62(3):621-626.
Both as a component of metabolic syndrome and as an independent entity, hypertension poses a continued challenge with regard to its diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment. Previous studies have documented connections between hypertension and indicators of lipid metabolism. Novel technologies like plasma lipidomic profiling promise a better understanding of disorders in which there is a derangement of the lipid metabolism. However, association of plasma lipidomic profiles with hypertension in a high-risk population, like Mexican Americans, has not been evaluated before. Using the rich data and sample resource from the ongoing San Antonio Family Heart Study, we conducted plasma lipidomic profiling by combining high performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectroscopy to characterize 319 lipid species in 1192 individuals from 42 large and extended Mexican American families. Robust statistical analyses employing polygenic regression models, liability threshold models and bivariate trait analyses implemented in the SOLAR software were conducted after accounting for obesity, insulin resistance and relative abundance of various lipoprotein fractions. Diacylglycerols in general and the DG 16:0/22:5 and DG 16:0/22:6 lipid species in particular were significantly associated with systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures as well as liability of incident hypertension measured during 7767.42 person-years of follow-up. Four lipid species, including the DG 16:0/22:5 and DG 16:0/22:6 species, showed significant genetic correlations with the liability of hypertension in bivariate trait analyses. Our results demonstrate the value of plasma lipidomic profiling in the context of hypertension and identify disturbance of diacyglycerol metabolism as an independent biomarker of hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3789127  PMID: 23798346
lipidomics; hypertension; blood pressure; lipid species; Mexican Americans
21.  A Systems Biology Strategy Reveals Biological Pathways and Plasma Biomarker Candidates for Potentially Toxic Statin-Induced Changes in Muscle 
PLoS ONE  2006;1(1):e97.
Aggressive lipid lowering with high doses of statins increases the risk of statin-induced myopathy. However, the cellular mechanisms leading to muscle damage are not known and sensitive biomarkers are needed to identify patients at risk of developing statin-induced serious side effects.
We performed bioinformatics analysis of whole genome expression profiling of muscle specimens and UPLC/MS based lipidomics analyses of plasma samples obtained in an earlier randomized trial from patients either on high dose simvastatin (80 mg), atorvastatin (40 mg), or placebo.
Principal Findings
High dose simvastatin treatment resulted in 111 differentially expressed genes (1.5-fold change and p-value<0.05), while expression of only one and five genes was altered in the placebo and atorvastatin groups, respectively. The Gene Set Enrichment Analysis identified several affected pathways (23 gene lists with False Discovery Rate q-value<0.1) in muscle following high dose simvastatin, including eicosanoid synthesis and Phospholipase C pathways. Using lipidomic analysis we identified previously uncharacterized drug-specific changes in the plasma lipid profile despite similar statin-induced changes in plasma LDL-cholesterol. We also found that the plasma lipidomic changes following simvastatin treatment correlate with the muscle expression of the arachidonate 5-lipoxygenase-activating protein.
High dose simvastatin affects multiple metabolic and signaling pathways in skeletal muscle, including the pro-inflammatory pathways. Thus, our results demonstrate that clinically used high statin dosages may lead to unexpected metabolic effects in non-hepatic tissues. The lipidomic profiles may serve as highly sensitive biomarkers of statin-induced metabolic alterations in muscle and may thus allow us to identify patients who should be treated with a lower dose to prevent a possible toxicity.
PMCID: PMC1762369  PMID: 17183729
22.  Hierarchical clustering analysis of blood plasma lipidomics profiles from mono- and dizygotic twin families 
Twin and family studies are typically used to elucidate the relative contribution of genetic and environmental variation to phenotypic variation. Here, we apply a quantitative genetic method based on hierarchical clustering, to blood plasma lipidomics data obtained in a healthy cohort consisting of 37 monozygotic and 28 dizygotic twin pairs, and 52 of their biological nontwin siblings. Such data are informative of the concentrations of a wide range of lipids in the studied blood samples. An important advantage of hierarchical clustering is that it can be applied to a high-dimensional ‘omics' type data, whereas the use of many other quantitative genetic methods for analysis of such data is hampered by the large number of correlated variables. For this study we combined two lipidomics data sets, originating from two different measurement blocks, which we corrected for block effects by ‘quantile equating'. In the analysis of the combined data, average similarities of lipidomics profiles were highest between monozygotic (MZ) cotwins, and became progressively lower between dizygotic (DZ) cotwins, among sex-matched nontwin siblings and among sex-matched unrelated participants, respectively. Our results suggest that (1) shared genetic background, shared environment, and similar age contribute to similarities in blood plasma lipidomics profiles among individuals; and (2) that the power of quantitative genetic analyses is enhanced by quantile equating and combination of data sets obtained in different measurement blocks.
PMCID: PMC3522200  PMID: 22713803
hierarchical clustering analysis; twin study; metabolomics
23.  Lipid Composition of the Human Eye: Are Red Blood Cells a Good Mirror of Retinal and Optic Nerve Fatty Acids? 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35102.
The assessment of blood lipids is very frequent in clinical research as it is assumed to reflect the lipid composition of peripheral tissues. Even well accepted such relationships have never been clearly established. This is particularly true in ophthalmology where the use of blood lipids has become very common following recent data linking lipid intake to ocular health and disease. In the present study, we wanted to determine in humans whether a lipidomic approach based on red blood cells could reveal associations between circulating and tissue lipid profiles. To check if the analytical sensitivity may be of importance in such analyses, we have used a double approach for lipidomics.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Red blood cells, retinas and optic nerves were collected from 9 human donors. The lipidomic analyses on tissues consisted in gas chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled to an electrospray ionization source-mass spectrometer (LC-ESI-MS). Gas chromatography did not reveal any relevant association between circulating and ocular fatty acids except for arachidonic acid whose circulating amounts were positively associated with its levels in the retina and in the optic nerve. In contrast, several significant associations emerged from LC-ESI-MS analyses. Particularly, lipid entities in red blood cells were positively or negatively associated with representative pools of retinal docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), retinal very-long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (VLC-PUFA) or optic nerve plasmalogens.
Conclusions and Significance
LC-ESI-MS is more appropriate than gas chromatography for lipidomics on red blood cells, and further extrapolation to ocular lipids. The several individual lipid species we have identified are good candidates to represent circulating biomarkers of ocular lipids. However, further investigation is needed before considering them as indexes of disease risk and before using them in clinical studies on optic nerve neuropathies or retinal diseases displaying photoreceptors degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3322172  PMID: 22496896
24.  Shotgun Lipidomics Identifies a Paired Rule for the Presence of Isomeric Ether Phospholipid Molecular Species 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(12):e1368.
Ether phospholipids are abundant membrane constituents present in electrically active tissues (e.g., heart and the brain) that play important roles in cellular function. Alterations of ether phospholipid molecular species contents are associated with a number of genetic disorders and human diseases.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Herein, the power of shotgun lipidomics, in combination with high mass accuracy/high resolution mass spectrometry, was explored to identify a paired rule for the presence of isomeric ether phospholipid molecular species in cellular lipidomes. The rule predicts that if an ether phospholipid A′-B is present in a lipidome, its isomeric counterpart B′-A is also present (where the ′ represents an ether linkage). The biochemical basis of this rule results from the fact that the enzymes which participate in either the sequential oxidation of aliphatic alcohols to fatty acids, or the reduction of long chain fatty acids to aliphatic alcohols (metabolic precursors of ether lipid synthesis), are not entirely selective with respect to acyl chain length or degree of unsaturation. Moreover, the enzymatic selectivity for the incorporation of different aliphatic chains into the obligatory precursor of ether lipids (i.e., 1-O-alkyl-glycero-3-phosphate) is also limited.
This intrinsic amplification of the number of lipid molecular species present in biological membranes predicted by this rule and demonstrated in this study greatly expands the number of ether lipid molecular species present in cellular lipidomes. Application of this rule to mass spectrometric analyses provides predictive clues to the presence of specific molecular species and greatly expands the number of identifiable and quantifiable ether lipid species present in biological samples. Through appropriate alterations in the database, use of the paired rule increases the number of identifiable metabolites in metabolic networks, thereby facilitating identification of biomarkers presaging disease states.
PMCID: PMC2147047  PMID: 18159251
25.  A lipidomic analysis approach to evaluate the response to cholesterol-lowering food intake 
Metabolomics  2011;8(5):894-906.
Plant sterols (PS) are well known to reduce serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Lipidomics potentially provides detailed information on a wide range of individual serum lipid metabolites, which may further add to our understanding of the biological effects of PS. In this study, lipidomics analysis was applied to serum samples from a placebo-controlled, parallel human intervention study (n = 97) of 4-week consumption of two PS-enriched, yoghurt drinks differing in fat content (based on 0.1% vs. 1.5% dairy fat). A comprehensive data analysis strategy was developed and implemented to assess and compare effects of two different PS-treatments and placebo treatment. The combination of univariate and multivariate data analysis approaches allowed to show significant effects of PS intake on the serum lipidome, and helped to distinguish them from fat content and non-specific effects. The PS-enriched 0.1% dairy fat yoghurt drink had a stronger impact on the lipidome than the 1.5% dairy fat yoghurt drink, despite similar LDL-cholesterol lowering effects. The PS-enriched 0.1% dairy fat yoghurt drink reduced levels of several sphingomyelins which correlated well with the reduction in LDL-cholesterol and can be explained by co-localization of sphingomyelins and cholesterol on the surface of LDL lipoprotein. Statistically significant reductions in serum levels of two lysophosphatidylcholines (LPC(16:1), LPC(20:1)) and cholesteryl arachidonate may suggest reduced inflammation and atherogenic potential.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0384-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3465648  PMID: 23060736
Plant sterols; Lipidomics; Lipoproteins; LDL-cholesterol; Data analysis; Multilevel-PLS-DA; Linear mixed models

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