Bioactive glycerophospho- and sphingolipids species are involved in the regulation of numerous biological processes and implicated in the pathophysiology of various diseases. Here we review electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometric (ESI-MS/MS) methods for the analysis of these bioactive lipid species in blood including lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate (BMP), ceramide (Cer), sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC). Beside direct tandem mass spectrometric and liquid chromatography coupled approaches, we present an overview of concentrations of these bioactive lipids in plasma. The analytical strategies are discussed together with aspects of sample preparation, quantification and sample stability.
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