Identification of lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) and platelet activating factor (PAF) from PC12 cells and mouse cortex using liquid chromatography/multi-stage mass spectrometry (LC/MS3)

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2008 Nov;22(22):3579-87. doi: 10.1002/rcm.3768.


Lipids play essential roles in cellular structural support, energy storage and signal transduction. Recently, mass spectrometry (MS) has been used to produce three-dimensional maps that elucidate the lipid composition of complex cellular lysates. The identification of individual lipids within these maps is slow and requires the synthesis and spiking of each candidate lipid. We present a novel MS-based technique that rapidly elucidates the atomic connectivity of the fatty acid/alcohol substituent on the sn-1 position of several different families of glycerophosphocholine-containing lipids within the confines of a chromatographic separation. Sodiated lipid species were fragmented to produce radical cations which lost successive methylene groups upon further collisional activation to reveal the identity of the parent molecule. This approach was demonstrated to be effective on isobaric members of the lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) and platelet activating factor (PAF) families of glycerophospholipids. We demonstrate the application of this technique to unambiguously identify these species within complex cellular lysates and tissue extracts.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Female
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • PC12 Cells
  • Platelet Activating Factor / chemistry*
  • Rats


  • Lysophosphatidylcholines
  • Platelet Activating Factor