Shotgun lipidomics, comprised of intrasource separation, multidimensional mass spectrometry and computer-assisted array analysis, is an emerging powerful technique in lipidomics. Through effective intrasource separation of predetermined groups of lipid classes based on their intrinsic electrical propensities, analyses of lipids from crude extracts of biologic samples can be directly and routinely performed. Appropriate multidimensional array analysis of lipid pseudomolecular ions and fragments can be performed leading to the identification and quantitation of targeted lipid molecular species. Since most biologic lipids are linear combinations of aliphatic chains, backbones and head groups, a rich repertoire of multiple lipid building blocks present in discrete combinations represent experimental observables that can be computer reconstructed in conjunction with their pseudomolecular ions to directly determine the lipid molecular structures from a lipid extract. Through this approach, dramatic increases in the accessible dynamic range for ratiometric quantitation and discrimination of isobaric molecular species can be achieved without any prior column chromatography or operator-dependent supervision. At its current state of development, shotgun lipidomics can analyze over 20 lipid classes, hundreds of lipid molecular species and more than 95% of the mass content of a cellular lipidome. Thus, understanding the biochemical mechanisms underlying lipid-mediated disease states will be greatly facilitated by the power of shotgun lipidomics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Proteomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry
  • Intrasource separation
  • Lipidome
  • Lipidomics
  • Multidimensional mass spectrometry
  • Phospholipids
  • Sphingolipids


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