Lipidomics of human adipose tissue reveals diversity between body areas

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Background and aims: Adipose tissue plays a pivotal role in storing excess fat and its composition reflects the history of person's lifestyle and metabolic health. Broad profiling of lipids with mass spectrometry has potential for uncovering new knowledge on the pathology of obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and other related conditions. Here, we developed a lipidomic method for analyzing human subcutaneous adipose biopsies. We applied the method to four body areas to understand the differences in lipid composition between these areas.

Materials and methods: Adipose tissue biopsies from 10 participants were analyzed using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The sample preparation optimization included the optimization of the lipid extraction, the sample amount and the sample dilution factor to detect lipids in an appropriate concentration range. Lipidomic analyses were performed for adipose tissue collected from the abdomen, breast, thigh and lower back. Differences in lipid levels between tissues were visualized with heatmaps.

Results: Lipidomic analysis on human adipose biopsies lead to the identification of 186lipids in 2 mg of sample. Technical variation of the lipid-class specific internal standards were below 5%, thus indicating acceptable repeatability. Triacylglycerols were highly represented in the adipose tissue samples, and lipids from 13 lipid classes were identified. Long polyunsaturated triacylglycerols in higher levels in thigh (q<0.05), when compared with the abdomen, breast and lower back, indicating that the lipidome was area-specific.

Conclusion: The method presented here is suitable for the analysis of lipid profiles in 2 mg of adipose tissue. The amount of fat across the body is important for health but we argue that also the distribution and the particular profile of the lipidome may be relevant for metabolic outcomes. We suggest that the method presented in this paper could be useful for detecting such aberrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0228521
JournalP L o S One
Issue number6
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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