Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researcher find fats galore in human plasma

15.10.2010
Human blood is famously fraught with fats; now researchers have a specific idea of just how numerous and diverse these lipids actually are. A national research team, led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has created the first "lipidome" of human plasma, identifying and quantifying almost 600 distinct fat species circulating in human blood.

"Everybody knows about blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides," said Edward A. Dennis, PhD, distinguished professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and principal investigator of LIPID MAPS, a national consortium studying the structure and function of lipids.

"For the first time, we've identified and measured hundreds more and ultimately we might discover thousands. These numbers and their remarkable diversity illustrate that lipids have key, specific functions, most of which we do not yet recognize or understand. This lipidome is a first step towards being able to investigate correlations between specific fat molecules and disease and developing new treatments."

The findings will be published in the November issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.

In recent years, scientists have begun to appreciate the greater, more complex roles of lipids in human biology (among them the emergence of vitamin D). The utility of lipids in building cell membranes is well known, as is their function as repositories of stored energy. Less well-understood, however, is their role as signaling molecules.

"Fatty acids, which are common, are turning out to be very important communication conduits in some diseases," said co-author Oswald Quehenberger, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego. "For example, adipocytes (fat cells) use specific fatty molecules to communicate with distant tissues, a process that's been linked to insulin resistance and diabetes and may also involve inflammatory networks."

Added Dennis: "Any condition in which inflammation is a component involves lipids. In fact, it's hard to think of a disease, including cancer, that doesn't involve lipids in some way."

The biggest challenge to mapping lipids is their abundance and diversity. Other basic molecules like sugars, amino acids and nucleic acids are limited to handfuls of types and variations. The upper limit of lipid species, from fatty acyls and glycerophospholipds to sterols and prenols, has yet to be determined. It may reach into the tens of thousands.

In the meantime, the new lipidome establishes benchmark levels for 588 lipid species, based on a new human plasma standard reference material (SRM) developed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in collaboration with the National Institutes of Standards. The SRM was prepared by obtaining plasma samples from 100 individuals between 40 and 50 years of age, whose ethnicity and gender was representative of the U.S. population.

"I look at this lipidome as something like the human genome project," said Quehenberger. "First you have to do the sequencing. You have to know what genes – or in this case, fats – are there. Then you can begin to look at individual species, do association studies and discover how these molecules fit into systems, processes and diseases."

The lipidome is part of the larger, on-going LIPID MAPS project, which received a second five-year renewal grant in 2008 for almost $38 million. LIPID MAPS brings together researchers in a dozen research laboratories at nine universities, medical research institutes and life sciences companies. UC San Diego serves as lead institution and information clearinghouse.

Funding for this work was provided by the LIPID MAPS Large Scale Collaborative Grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Co-authors of the research are Aaron M. Armando of the Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the UCSD School of Medicine; Alex H. Brown, Stephen B. Milne, David S. Myers of the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Alfred H. Merrill, Sibali Bandyopadhyay, Kristin N. Jones, Samuel Kelly, Rebecca L. Shaner, Cameron M. Sullards, Elaine Wang of the School of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Institute of Technology; Robert C. Murphy, Robert M. Barkley and Thomas J. Leiker of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado, Denver; Christian R.H. Raetz, Ziqiang Guan, Gregory M. Laird and David A. Six of the Department of Biology at Duke University Medical Center; David W. Russell and Jeffrey G. McDonald at the Department of Molecular Genetics and the Cancer Immunology Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Shankar Subramaniam and Eoin Fahy of the Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering at UCSD.

Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>