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J Lipid Res. 2014 Nov;55(11):2432-42. doi: 10.1194/jlr.D051581. Epub 2014 Sep 15.

Three-dimensional enhanced lipidomics analysis combining UPLC, differential ion mobility spectrometry, and mass spectrometric separation strategies.

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AB SCIEX, Redwood Shores, CA.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
Department of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA.


Phospholipids serve as central structural components in cellular membranes and as potent mediators in numerous signaling pathways. There are six main classes of naturally occurring phospholipids distinguished by their distinct polar head groups that contain many unique molecular species with distinct fatty acid composition. Phospholipid molecular species are often expressed as isobaric species that are denoted by the phospholipid class and the total number of carbon atoms and double bonds contained in the esterified fatty acyl groups (e.g., phosphatidylcholine 34:2). Techniques to separate these molecules exist, and each has positive and negative attributes. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography uses polar bonded silica to separate lipids by polar head group but not by specific molecular species. Reversed phase (RP) chromatography can separate by fatty acyl chain composition but not by polar head group. Herein we describe a new strategy called differential ion mobility spectrometry (DMS), which separates phospholipid classes by their polar head group. Combining DMS with current LC methods enhances phospholipid separation by increasing resolution, specificity, and signal-to-noise ratio. Additional application of specialized information-dependent acquisition methodologies along with RP chromatography allows full isobaric resolution, identification, and compositional characterization of specific phospholipids at the molecular level.


glycerophospholipids; lipid metabolism; lipid profiling

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