Qualitative and quantitative analyses of lysophospholipids (lyso-PLs) in human body fluids and tissues have become critically important for our understanding of human physiology and pathology. As a new class of signaling molecules, these lipids play important regulatory roles in cellular functions. Thus, it is not surprising to find that a number of lyso-PLs are potential biomarkers for a variety of diseases, including cancers. Traditional lipid analytical methods, such as thin-layer chromatography (TLC), phosphorous determination, gas chromatography (GC), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) have been successfully used in phospholipid analysis. However, due to either the lack of sensitivity or the cumbersome analytical procedures, these methods are not highly effective in analyzing most lyso-PLs, some of which compose <1% of the total phospholipids. In addition, a complex array of enzymes and their regulators are involved in the metabolism of lyso-PLs. Therefore, analysis of lyso-PLs in human body fluids and tissues is not only an analytical, but also a biological issue. A good understanding of the biology of these lipids is essential for pathophysiologically relevant analyses of lyso-PLs. We will focus our discussion on: (1) a comparison of the electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS)-based method with other methods of lyso-PL analysis; (2) the influences of sample preparation on the analyses results; and (3) the issues related to sensitivity and reproducibility of the analyses, which are extremely important for biomarker identification and potential clinical use. The chapter includes discussions on the methods for qualitative and quantitative analysis of lyso-PLs in human body fluids (plasma, ascitic fluid, and urine) and in cells or cell culture media, as well as in animal tissues. The important factors that significantly affect the assays are emphasized. As future perspectives, we discuss the importance of further increasing the sensitivity and accuracy of the lyso-PL assays, as well as potential methods to establish high-throughput assays for lyso-PLs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)