Lipidomics reveals a remarkable diversity of lipids in human plasma.
The focus of the present study was to define the human plasma lipidome and to establish novel analytical methodologies to quantify the large spectrum of plasma lipids. Partial lipid analysis is now a regular part of every patient's blood test and physicians readily and regularly prescribe drugs that alter the levels of major plasma lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Plasma contains many thousands of distinct lipid molecular species that fall into six main categories including fatty acyls, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, sterols, and prenols. The physiological contributions of these diverse lipids and how their levels change in response to therapy remain largely unknown. As a first step toward answering these questions, we provide herein an in-depth lipidomics analysis of a pooled human plasma obtained from healthy individuals after overnight fasting and with a gender balance and an ethnic distribution that is representative of the US population. In total, we quantitatively assessed the levels of over 500 distinct molecular species distributed among the main lipid categories. As more information is obtained regarding the roles of individual lipids in health and disease, it seems likely that future blood tests will include an ever increasing number of these lipid molecules.