Potential and Caveats of Lipidomics for Cardiovascular Disease
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Articles, see p 1629 and p 1637
Since the seminal publications from the Framingham study in the mid-60s,1 the measurement of lipid levels, mainly of total cholesterol, total triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, is routine clinical practice for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lipid-lowering therapy. A more detailed assessment of the lipid composition, that is, the molecular species that constitute the lipid classes, is not widely used, mainly because of the caveats of assessing the lipidome. The human lipidome is estimated to include thousands of molecular lipid species with functional diversity. The molecular lipid species within a lipid class share a modular composition with fatty acids being attached to a common backbone. Although a characteristic head group within the backbone defines the lipid class, the diversity of molecular lipid species derives from the conjugated fatty acids.2 The conjugated fatty acids can differ in their carbon chain length, the number, position, and configuration (cis or trans) of their double bonds, and the position and type (acyl, alkyl, or vinyl) of linkage to the backbone.
Lipidomics refers to the comprehensive profiling of lipids, facilitated by recent advances in mass spectrometry (MS).2 The identified molecular lipid species are designated by abbreviations that combine the description of the lipid class with the characteristics of the conjugated fatty acids.3 For example, a diglyceride (DG) with 2 fatty acids of 12 and 22 carbon atoms and 0 and 5 double bonds, respectively, both linked by an acyl linkage, can be described either as DG(12:0/22:5), or as DG(34:5). Most MS studies report the numbers of carbon atoms and double bonds either for the individual fatty acids or in total, but do not assign the precise positions of the fatty acids at the backbone or of the double bonds within the individual …