Studies of phospholipid oxidation by electrospray mass spectrometry: from analysis in cells to biological effects

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The oxidation of lipids is important in many pathological conditions and lipid peroxidation products such as 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) and other aldehydes are commonly measured as biomarkers of oxidative stress. However, it is often useful to complement this with analysis of the original oxidized phospholipid. Electrospray mass spectrometry (ESMS) provides an informative method for detecting oxidative alterations to phospholipids, and has been used to investigate oxidative damage to cells, and low-density lipoprotein, as well as for the analysis of oxidized phosphatidylcholines present in atherosclerotic plaque material. There is increasing evidence that intact oxidized phospholipids have biological effects; in particular, oxidation products of 1-palmitoyl-2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerophosphocholine (PAPC) have been found to cause inflammatory responses, which could be potentially important in the progression of atherosclerosis. The effects of chlorohydrin derivatives of lipids have been much less studied, but it is clear that free fatty acid chlorohydrins and phosphatidylcholine chlorohydrins are toxic to cells at concentrations above 10 micromolar, a range comparable to that of HNE and oxidized PAPC. There is some evidence that chlorohydrins have biological effects that may be relevant to atherosclerosis, but further work is needed to elucidate their pro-inflammatory properties, and to understand the mechanisms and balance of biological effects that could result from oxidation of complex mixtures of lipids in a pathophysiological situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • oxidized phospholipids
  • electrospray mass spectrometry
  • chlorohydrins
  • inflammation
  • atherosclerosis
  • pharmacy and materia medica


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