Detailed analysis of lipid species can be challenging due to their structural diversity and wide concentration range in cells, tissues, and biofluids. To address these analytical challenges, we devised a reproducible, sensitive, and integrated lipidomics workflow based on normal-phase liquid chromatography-Fourier transform mass spectrometry (LC-FTMS) and LC-ITMS(2) (ion trap tandem mass spectrometry) for profiling and structural analysis of lipid species. The workflow uses a normal-phase LC system for efficient separation of apolar and polar lipid species combined with sensitive and specific analysis powered by a chip-based nanoelectrospray ion source and a hybrid ion trap-orbitrap mass spectrometer. The workflow was executed using a primary LC-FTMS survey routine for identification and profiling of lipid species based on high-mass accuracy and retention time followed by a targeted LC-ITMS(2) routine for characterizing the fatty acid moieties of identified lipid species. We benchmarked the performance of the workflow by characterizing the chromatographic properties of the LC-MS system for general lipid analysis. In addition, we demonstrate the efficacy of the workflow by reporting a study of low-abundant triacylglycerol and ceramide species in mouse brain cerebellum and 3T3-L1 adipocytes, respectively. The workflow described here is generic and can be extended for detailed lipid analysis of sample matrices having a wide range of lipid compositions.
Analytical Biochemistry, 2013, Vol 443, Issue 1, p. 88-96
Lipidomics; Normal-phase LC; Nanoelectrospray ionization; Orbitrap mass spectrometry