Lipidomics of oxidized polyunsaturated fatty acids

Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Jun;59(100):45-55. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2012.08.565. Epub 2012 Aug 19.


Lipid mediators are produced from the oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids through enzymatic and free radical-mediated reactions. When subject to oxygenation via cyclooxygenases, lipoxygenases, and cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, polyunsaturated fatty acids give rise to an array of metabolites including eicosanoids, docosanoids, and octadecanoids. These potent bioactive lipids are involved in many biochemical and signaling pathways, with inflammation being of particular importance. Moreover, because they are produced by more than one pathway and substrate, and are present in a variety of biological milieus, their analysis is not always possible with conventional assays. Liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray mass spectrometry offers a versatile and sensitive approach for the analysis of bioactive lipids, allowing specific and accurate quantitation of multiple species present in the same sample. Here we explain the principles of this approach to mediator lipidomics and present detailed protocols for the assay of enzymatically produced oxygenated metabolites of polyunsaturated fatty acids that can be tailored to answer biological questions or facilitate assessment of nutritional and pharmacological interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / chemistry*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3