Sphingolipid Analysis in Clinical Research

Methods Mol Biol. 2018:1730:135-162. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7592-1_11.


Sphingolipids are the most diverse class of lipids due to the numerous variations in their structural components. This diversity is also reflected in their extremely different functions. Sphingolipids are not only constituents of cell membranes but have also emerged as key signaling molecules involved in a variety of cellular functions, such as cell growth and differentiation, proliferation, and apoptotic cell death. Lipidomic analyses in clinical research have identified pathways and products of sphingolipid metabolism that are altered in several human pathologies. In this article, we describe how to properly design a lipidomic experiment in clinical research, how to handle plasma and serum samples for this purpose, and how to measure sphingolipids using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Keywords: Ceramide; Clinical mass spectrometry; Glucosylceramide; Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry; Quality control; Sphingolipidomics; Sphingolipids; Sphingomyelin; Sphingosine-1-phosphate.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Specimen Collection
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Research Design
  • Sphingolipids / blood*


  • Sphingolipids