Identification and quantitation of fatty acid double bond positional isomers: A shotgun lipidomics approach using charge-switch derivatization

Kui Yang, Beverly Gibson Dilthey, Richard W. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

The specific locations of double bonds in mammalian lipids have profound effects on biological membrane structure, dynamics and lipid second messenger production. Herein, we describe a shotgun lipidomics approach that exploits charge-switch derivatization with N-(4-aminomethylphenyl) pyridinium (AMPP) and tandem mass spectrometry for identification and quantification of fatty acid double bond positional isomers. Through charge-switch derivatization of fatty acids followed by positive-ion mode ionization and fragmentation analysis, a marked increase in analytic sensitivity (low fmol/μL) and the identification of double bond positional isomers can be obtained. Specifically, the locations of proximal double bonds in AMPP-derivatized fatty acids are identified by diagnostic fragment ions resulting from the markedly reduced 1,4-hydrogen elimination from the proximal olefinic carbons. Additional fragmentation patterns resulting from allylic cleavages further substantiated the double bond position assignments. Moreover, quantification of fatty acid double bond positional isomers is achieved by the linear relationship of the normalized intensities of characteristic fragment ions vs the isomeric compositions of discrete fatty acid positional isomers. The application of this approach for the analysis of fatty acids in human serum demonstrated the existence of two double bond isomers of linolenic acid (i.e., Δ6,9,12 18:3, γ-linolenic acid (GLA), and Δ9,12,15 18:3, α-linolenic acid (ALA)). Remarkably, the isomeric ratio of GLA vs ALA esterified in neutral lipids was 3-fold higher than the ratio of their nonesterified moieties. Through this developed method, previously underestimated or unidentified alterations in fatty acid structural isomers can be determined facilitating the identification of novel biomarkers and maladaptive alterations in lipid metabolism during disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9742-9750
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume85
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2013

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