What’s the Deal with Li­pi­do­mics?

If we talk about „hy­pes“ in the field of che­mi­cal ana­ly­sis, we can say that the­re is curr­ent­ly a lot of dis­cus­sion about „li­pi­do­mics.“ Read our ar­tic­le to find out what li­pi­do­mics is, why it is ge­ne­ra­ting so much hype, and what the cur­rent chal­lenges are that the che­mi­cal com­mu­ni­ty faces in li­pid re­se­arch.

As the name sug­gests, „li­pi­do­mics“ deals with the stu­dy of li­pids, i.e., fats. As a sub­field of me­ta­bo­lo­mics, it spe­ci­fi­cal­ly fo­cu­ses on the fats pre­sent in hu­man (or ani­mal) or­ga­nisms and their role in cell si­gnal­ing, hor­mo­ne re­gu­la­ti­on, and as bio­mar­kers for di­se­a­ses. It is al­re­a­dy known, for ex­am­p­le, that li­pids are in­vol­ved in me­ta­bo­lic pro­ces­ses re­la­ted to di­se­a­ses such as dia­be­tes, can­cer, or Parkinson’s.

Li­pids: The che­mis­try of life?

By gai­ning a com­pre­hen­si­ve view of the li­pid pro­fi­le wi­thin cells and tis­sues, re­se­ar­chers hope to un­co­ver no­vel bio­mar­kers, the­ra­peu­tic tar­gets, and de­ve­lop per­so­na­li­zed tre­at­ment stra­te­gies. The pro­s­pect of ma­king ground­brea­king dis­co­veries is dri­ving re­se­arch in this field. The po­ten­ti­al is im­mense, as the­re are hundreds of dif­fe­rent li­pids to iden­ti­fy, quan­ti­fy, and clas­si­fy. Ho­we­ver, this alo­ne is not the big­gest chall­enge that the field of li­pi­do­mics curr­ent­ly faces.

Me­thods for Li­pid De­tec­tion

The in­cre­di­ble di­ver­si­ty of li­pids makes it dif­fi­cult to es­tab­lish a stan­dard me­thod for their ana­ly­sis. The­re is sim­ply no one-size-fits-all me­thod. Ty­pi­cal­ly, li­quid chro­ma­to­gra­phy com­bi­ned with elec­tro­spray io­niza­ti­on (ESI) and mass spec­tro­me­try is used in li­pid re­se­arch. Ho­we­ver, due to the struc­tu­ral di­ver­si­ty of li­pids, not all li­pid mole­cu­les can be equal­ly io­ni­zed by ESI and me­a­su­red in the mass spec­tro­me­ter. This of­ten leads to ion sup­pres­si­on, mul­ti­ple char­ge sta­tes, and in­creased in-source frag­men­ta­ti­on. Ad­di­tio­nal­ly, the ran­ge of io­niza­ti­on ob­tai­ned does not ful­ly co­ver both non-po­lar and high­ly po­lar li­pids in a sin­gle me­thod.

Room for enhance­ment

The li­mi­ta­ti­ons of the cur­rent stan­dard me­thod show that the com­mon pro­ce­du­res are still in their in­fan­cy. In or­der to ful­ly harness the po­ten­ti­al of li­pid re­se­arch, ana­ly­ti­cal tech­ni­ques must con­ti­nue to evol­ve.

In our la­test app note LC-SICRIT®-HRMS Ana­ly­sis of Non-Po­lar Li­pids fea­turing Shi­madzu Ne­xera LC and 9030 LC-MS QToF we de­mons­tra­te that our LC mo­du­le, in com­bi­na­ti­on with the SICRIT® ion source (in­s­tead of ESI), ad­dres­ses some of the­se draw­backs.

In do­ing so, we con­tri­bu­te to the ad­vance­ment of li­pid ana­ly­sis and pro­vi­de re­se­ar­chers with new tools that, in turn, will as­sist them in their dis­co­veries. It’s a small but im­portant step towards fur­ther ex­plo­ra­ti­on of curr­ent­ly in­cura­ble di­se­a­ses.

Are you re­a­dy to rethink your lab? Cont­act us for more in­for­ma­ti­on!