Lipid fingerprint image accurately conveys human colon cell pathophysiologic state: A solid candidate as biomarker

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Dec;1861(12 Pt A):1942-1950. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Membrane lipids are gaining increasing attention in the clinical biomarker field, as they are associated with different pathologic processes such as cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. Analyzing human colonoscopic sections by matrix assisted laser/desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging techniques, we identified a defined number of lipid species changing concomitant to the colonocyte differentiation and according to a quite simple mathematical expression. These species felt into two lipid families tightly associated in signaling: phosphatidylinositols and arachidonic acid-containing lipids. On the other hand, an opposed pattern was observed in lamina propria for AA-containing lipids, coinciding with the physiological distribution of the immunological response cells in this tissue. Importantly, the lipid gradient was accompanied by a gradient in expression of enzymes involved in lipid mobilization. Finally, both lipid and protein gradients were lost in adenomatous polyps. The latter allowed us to assess how different a single lipid species is handled in a pathological context depending on the cell type. The strict patterns of distribution in lipid species and lipid enzymes described here unveil the existence of fine regulatory mechanisms orchestrating the lipidome according to the physiological state of the cell. In addition, these results provide solid evidence that the cell lipid fingerprint image can be used to predict precisely the physiological and pathological status of a cell, reinforcing its translational impact in clinical research.

Keywords: Arachidonic acid; Colonocyte differentiation; Lipidomics; MALDI-imaging; Phosphatidylinositol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Colon / metabolism*
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / physiology*
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipids
  • Phosphatidylinositols