An Encyclopedia for Mass Spectrometry Lipidomics

Lipidomics is a subfield of metabolomics, which looks at the lipids and lipid derivatives in biological samples, such as blood. In doing so, the mechanisms/pathways involving lipids can be elucidated. Over the past decade, several lipidomics studies showed that absolute and relative quantities of lipids can be used in mechanistic studies, risk prediction, and therapeutic monitoring of a given disease, considering the close relationship between lipids and disease pathology and phenotype. Mass spectrometry (MS) is a state-of-the art technique to identify and quantify lipid species.

In this study, CENTOGENE and a team of researchers throughout Europe catalogued freely available software tools, libraries, databases, repositories, and resources that support MS-based lipidomics data analysis and determined the scope of currently used analytical technologies. We extensively compared the tools which support targeted and untargeted analysis using direct infusion of samples to the MS (direct infusion mass spectrometry) and separation of lipids prior to MS analysis (Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry). In addition, we assessed the importance of standardized data formats in MS-based lipidomics workflows. We also identified several challenges of currently available tools and standards. Lastly, we provided suggestions for the areas that need to be improved – paving the way to better research and health outcomes for patients around the world. The research was published in Metabolites, a leading peer-reviewed journal spotlighting the metabolism and metabolomics.