Quantitative lipidomic analysis of mouse lung during postnatal development by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 7;13(9):e0203464. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203464. eCollection 2018.


Lipids play very important roles in lung biology, mainly reducing the alveolar surface tension at the air-liquid interface thereby preventing end-expiratory collapse of the alveoli. In the present study we performed an extensive quantitative lipidomic analysis of mouse lung to provide the i) total lipid quantity, ii) distribution pattern of the major lipid classes, iii) composition of individual lipid species and iv) glycerophospholipid distribution pattern according to carbon chain length (total number of carbon atoms) and degree of unsaturation (total number of double bonds). We analysed and quantified 160 glycerophospholipid species, 24 sphingolipid species, 18 cholesteryl esters and cholesterol from lungs of a) newborn (P1), b) 15-day-old (P15) and c) 12-week-old adult mice (P84) to understand the changes occurring during postnatal pulmonary development. Our results revealed an increase in total lipid quantity, correlation of lipid class distribution in lung tissue and significant changes in the individual lipid species composition during postnatal lung development. Interestingly, we observed significant stage-specific alterations during this process. Especially, P1 lungs showed high content of monounsaturated lipid species; P15 lungs exhibited myristic and palmitic acid containing lipid species, whereas adult lungs were enriched with polyunsaturated lipid species. Taken together, our study provides an extensive quantitative lipidome of the postnatal mouse lung development, which may serve as a reference for a better understanding of lipid alterations and their functions in lung development and respiratory diseases associated with lipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cholesterol / analysis
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Cholesterol Esters / analysis
  • Cholesterol Esters / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Lung / chemistry*
  • Lung / growth & development
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phospholipids / analysis
  • Phospholipids / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Sphingolipids / analysis
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Cholesterol Esters
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • Cholesterol

Grants and funding

We thank German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for granting the Graduate School Scholarship Programme “Lipids in Nutrition and Metabolism” (DAAD-GSSP-2015). V.G. is a holder of a doctoral fellowship (DAAD-ID91566181) within this programme. Our study was supported also by LOM (Leistungsorientierte Mittel) performance related resource allocation-funds of the Medical Faculty of the Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. Financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Sp 314/13-1) is gratefully acknowledged. The research leading to these results also received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 202272, IP-Project LipidomicNet.