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J Lipid Res. 2011 Aug;52(8):1551-60. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M015750. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

MALDI imaging MS of phospholipids in the mouse lung.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Denver, 12801 East 17 Avenue, Mail Stop 8303, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.


Lipid mediators are important in lung biochemistry and are derived from the enzymatic oxidation of arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids, which are PUFAs that are present in phospholipids in cell membranes. In this study, MALDI imaging MS was used to determine the localization of arachidonate- and docosahexaenoate-containing phospholipids in mouse lung. These PUFA-containing phospholipids were determined to be uniquely abundant at the lining of small and large airways, which were unequivocally identified by immunohistochemistry. In addition, it was found that the blood vessels present in the lung were characterized by sphingomyelin molecular species, and lung surfactant phospholipids appeared evenly distributed throughout the lung parenchyma, indicating alveolar localization. This technique revealed unexpected high concentrations of arachidonate- and docosahexaenoate-containing phospholipids lining the airways in pulmonary tissue, which could serve as precursors of lipid mediators affecting airways biology.

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