Comparative lipidomics of mouse brain exposed to enriched environment

J Lipid Res. 2013 Oct;54(10):2687-96. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M038075. Epub 2013 Jul 6.


Several studies have shown that housing conditions and environmental exposure to a series of stimuli lead to behavior improvement in several species. While more works have been focused on illustrating changes of the proteome and transcriptome following enriched environment exposure in mice, little has been done to understand changes in the brain metabolome in this paradigm due to the complexity of this type of analysis. In this paper, lipidomics focused on phospholipids and gangliosides were conducted for brain tissues of mice exposed to enriched or impoverished conditions. We optimized previously reported method and established a reliable relative comparison method for phospholipids and gangliosides in brain tissue using prefractionation with weak anion exchange cartridge. We used liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to explore metabolic signatures of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus after confirming the animals had significant memory differences using the fear conditioning paradigm and brain immunohistochemistry. Although both cerebral cortex and hippocampus regions did not show major alterations in ganglioside composition, we found significant differences in a series of phospholipids containing 22:6 fatty acid in the prefrontal cortex, indicating that environmental enrichment and impoverished housing conditions might be a relevant paradigm to study aberrant lipid metabolism of docosahexaenoic acid consumption. Our study highlights the hypothesis-generating potential of lipidomics and identifies novel region-specific lipid changes possibly linked not only to change of memory function in these models, but also to help us better understand how lipid changes may contribute to memory disorders.

Keywords: docosahexaenoic acid; ganglioside; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; phospho-cAMP response element binding protein; phospholipid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology
  • Fear / physiology
  • Female
  • Freezing Reaction, Cataleptic
  • Gangliosides / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phospholipids / metabolism*
  • Sulfoglycosphingolipids / metabolism*


  • Gangliosides
  • Phospholipids
  • Sulfoglycosphingolipids