Tularemia is a highly infectious and contagious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. To better understand human response to a live-attenuated tularemia vaccine and the biological pathways altered post-vaccination, healthy adults were vaccinated, and plasma was collected pre- and post-vaccination for longitudinal lipidomics studies. Using tandem mass spectrometry, we fully characterized individual lipid species within predominant lipid classes to identify changes in the plasma lipidome during the vaccine response. Separately, we targeted oxylipins, a subset of lipid mediators involved in inflammatory pathways. We identified 14 differentially abundant lipid species from eight lipid classes. These included 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-HETE) which is indicative of lipoxygenase activity and, subsequently, inflammation. Results suggest that 5-HETE was metabolized to a dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acid (DHET) by day 7 post-vaccination, shedding light on the kinetics of the 5-HETE-mediated inflammatory response. In addition to 5-HETE and DHET, we observed pronounced changes in 34:1 phosphatidylinositol, anandamide, oleamide, ceramides, 16:1 cholesteryl ester, and other glycerophospholipids; several of these changes in abundance were correlated with serum cytokines and T cell activation. These data provide new insights into alterations in plasma lipidome post-tularemia vaccination, potentially identifying key mediators and pathways involved in vaccine response and efficacy.
Keywords: 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic (5HETE); inflammation; lipidomics; oxylipins; tularemia; vaccine response.