Although the foundations of mass spectrometry-based lipidomics have been practiced for over 30 years, recent technological advances in ionization modalities in conjunction with robust increases in mass accuracy and resolution have greatly accelerated the emergence, growth and importance of the field of lipidomics. Moreover, advances in the separation sciences, bioinformatic strategies and the availability of robust databases have been synergistically integrated into modern lipidomic technologies leading to unprecedented improvements in the depth, penetrance and precision of lipidomic analyses and identification of their biological and mechanistic significance. The purpose of this “opinion” article is to briefly review the evolution of lipidomics, critique the platforms that have evolved and identify areas that are likely to emerge in the years to come. Through seamlessly integrating a rich repertoire of mass spectrometric, chemical and bioinformatic strategies, the chemical identities and quantities of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of different lipid molecular species and their metabolic alterations during physiologic or pathophysiologic perturbations can be obtained. Thus, the field of lipidomics which already has a distinguished history of exciting new discoveries in many disease states holds unparalleled potential to identify the pleiotropic roles of lipids in health and disease at the chemical level. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: BBALIP_Lipidomics Opinion Articles edited by Sepp Kohlwein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-739
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Charge-switch derivatives
  • Lipidomics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Reverse lipidomics
  • Shotgun lipidomics


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