Lipidomics reveals dramatic lipid compositional changes in the maturing postnatal lung

Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 1:7:40555. doi: 10.1038/srep40555.


Lung immaturity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. Understanding the molecular mechanisms driving normal lung development could provide insights on how to ameliorate disrupted development. While transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of normal lung development have been previously reported, characterization of changes in the lipidome is lacking. Lipids play significant roles in the lung, such as dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine in pulmonary surfactant; however, many of the roles of specific lipid species in normal lung development, as well as in disease states, are not well defined. In this study, we used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to investigate the murine lipidome during normal postnatal lung development. Lipidomics analysis of lungs from post-natal day 7, day 14 and 6-8 week mice (adult) identified 924 unique lipids across 21 lipid subclasses, with dramatic alterations in the lipidome across developmental stages. Our data confirmed previously recognized aspects of post-natal lung development and revealed several insights, including in sphingolipid-mediated apoptosis, inflammation and energy storage/usage. Complementary proteomics, metabolomics and chemical imaging corroborated these observations. This multi-omic view provides a unique resource and deeper insight into normal pulmonary development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lung / growth & development*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / growth & development
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Sphingolipids