Alterations of plasma lysophosphatidylcholine species in obesity and weight loss

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 23;9(10):e111348. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111348. eCollection 2014.


Background: Obesity and related diseases of the metabolic syndrome contribute to the major health problems in industrialized countries. Alterations in the metabolism of lipid classes and lipid species may significantly be involved in these metabolic overload diseases. However, little is known about specific lipid species in this syndrome and existing data are contradictive.

Methods: In this study, we quantified plasma lipid species by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) in obese subjects before and after 3 month weight loss as well as in a control group.

Results: The comparison of obese subjects with control subjects before weight loss revealed significantly lower lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) concentrations in obesity. LPC concentrations did not significantly increase during the observed period in the weight loss group. Analysis of LPC species revealed a decrease of most species in obesity and negative correlations with C-reactive protein (CRP) and body mass index (BMI). Correlating BMI ratio before and after weight loss with the ratio of total LPC and individual LPC species revealed significant negative relationships of LPC ratios with BMI ratio.

Conclusions: Our findings contribute to the contradictive discussion of the role of LPC in obesity and related chronic inflammation strongly supporting pre-existing data in the literature that show a decrease of LPC species in plasma of obese and a potentially anti-inflammatory role in these subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lysophosphatidylcholines / blood*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Phenotype
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Weight Loss*
  • Weight Reduction Programs


  • Lysophosphatidylcholines

Grant support

This study was supported by the German Competence Network of Obesity funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01GI1320 to AB). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.