Deep-lipidotyping by mass spectrometry: recent technical advances and applicationsIn-depth structural characterization of lipids is an essential component of lipidomics. There has been a rapid expansion of mass spectrometry methods that are capable of resolving lipid isomers at various structural levels over the past decade. These developments finally make deep-lipidotyping possible, which provides new means to study lipid metabolism and discover new lipid biomarkers. In this review, we discuss recent advancements in tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) methods for identification of complex lipids beyond the species (known headgroup information) and molecular species (known chain composition) levels.
Very long chain fatty acid-containing lipids: a decade of novel insights from the study of ELOVL4Lipids play essential roles in maintaining cell structure and function by modulating membrane fluidity and cell signaling. The fatty acid elongase-4 (ELOVL4) protein, expressed in retina, brain, Meibomian glands, skin, testes and sperm, is an essential enzyme that mediates tissue-specific biosynthesis of both VLC-PUFA and VLC-saturated fatty acids (VLC-SFA). These fatty acids play critical roles in maintaining retina and brain function, neuroprotection, skin permeability barrier maintenance, and sperm function, among other important cellular processes.
Existing and emerging therapies for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemiaFamilial hypercholesterolemia (FH), an autosomal dominant disorder of LDL metabolism that is characterized by elevated LDL-cholesterol, is commonly encountered in patients with atherosclerotic coronary heart disease. Combinations of cholesterol-lowering therapies are often used to lower LDL-cholesterol in patients with FH; however, current treatment goals for LDL-cholesterol are rarely achieved in patients with homozygous FH (HoFH) and are difficult to achieve in patients with heterozygous FH (HeFH).
Lipoprotein metabolism in familial hypercholesterolemiaFamilial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is one of the most common genetic disorders in humans. It is an extremely atherogenic metabolic disorder characterized by lifelong elevations of circulating LDL-C levels often leading to premature cardiovascular events. In this review, we discuss the clinical phenotypes of heterozygous and homozygous FH, the genetic variants in four genes (LDLR/APOB/PCSK9/LDLRAP1) underpinning the FH phenotype as well as the most recent in vitro experimental approaches used to investigate molecular defects affecting the LDL receptor pathway.
The lipidome in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: actionable targetsNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most prevalent chronic liver disease. Recent technological advances, combined with OMICs experiments and explorations involving different biological samples, have uncovered vital aspects of NAFLD biology. In this review, we summarize recent work by our group and others that expands what is known about the role of lipidome in NAFLD pathogenesis. We discuss how pathway and enrichment analyses were performed by integrating a list of query metabolites derived from text-mining existing NAFLD-lipidomics studies, resulting in the identification of nine Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes dysregulated pathways, including biosynthesis of unsaturated fatty acids, butanoate metabolism, synthesis and degradation of ketone bodies, sphingolipid, arachidonic acid and pyruvate metabolism, and numerous nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug pathways predicted from The Small Molecule Pathway Database.
The lipid biology of sepsisSepsis, defined as the dysregulated immune response to an infection leading to organ dysfunction, is one of the leading causes of mortality around the globe. Despite the significant progress in delineating the underlying mechanisms of sepsis pathogenesis, there are currently no effective treatments or specific diagnostic biomarkers in the clinical setting. The perturbation of cell signaling mechanisms, inadequate inflammation resolution, and energy imbalance, all of which are altered during sepsis, are also known to lead to defective lipid metabolism.
Clinical lipidomics: realizing the potential of lipid profilingDysregulation of lipid metabolism plays a major role in the etiology and sequelae of inflammatory disorders, cardiometabolic and neurological diseases, and several forms of cancer. Recent advances in lipidomic methodology allow comprehensive lipidomic profiling of clinically relevant biological samples, enabling researchers to associate lipid species and metabolic pathways with disease onset and progression. The resulting data serve not only to advance our fundamental knowledge of the underlying disease process but also to develop risk assessment models to assist in the diagnosis and management of disease.
The PCSK9 discovery, an inactive protease with varied functions in hypercholesterolemia, viral infections, and cancerIn 2003, the sequences of mammalian proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) were reported. Radiolabeling pulse-chase analyses demonstrated that PCSK9 was synthesized as a precursor (proPCSK9) that undergoes autocatalytic cleavage in the endoplasmic reticulum into PCSK9, which is then secreted as an inactive enzyme in complex with its inhibitory prodomain. Its high mRNA expression in liver hepatocytes and its gene localization on chromosome 1p32, a third locus associated with familial hypercholesterolemia, other than LDLR or APOB, led us to identify three patient families expressing the PCSK9 variants S127R or F216L.
Genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolemia—past, present, and futureIn the early 1980s, the Nobel Prize winning cellular and molecular work of Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein led to the identification of the LDL receptor gene as the first gene where mutations cause the familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) phenotype. We now know that autosomal dominant monogenic FH can be caused by pathogenic variants of three additional genes (APOB/PCSK9/APOE) and that the plasma LDL-C concentration and risk of premature coronary heart disease differs according to the specific locus and associated molecular cause.
Fatty acid oxidation and photoreceptor metabolic needsPhotoreceptors have high energy demands and a high density of mitochondria that produce ATP through oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) of fuel substrates. Although glucose is the major fuel for CNS brain neurons, in photoreceptors (also CNS), most glucose is not metabolized through OXPHOS but is instead metabolized into lactate by aerobic glycolysis. The major fuel sources for photoreceptor mitochondria remained unclear for almost six decades. Similar to other tissues (like heart and skeletal muscle) with high metabolic rates, photoreceptors were recently found to metabolize fatty acids (palmitate) through OXPHOS.
Bisretinoid phospholipid and vitamin A aldehyde: shining a lightVitamin A aldehyde covalently bound to opsin protein is embedded in a phospholipid-rich membrane that supports photon absorption and phototransduction in photoreceptor cell outer segments. Following absorption of a photon, the 11-cis-retinal chromophore of visual pigment in photoreceptor cells isomerizes to all-trans-retinal. To maintain photosensitivity 11-cis-retinal must be replaced. At the same time, however, all-trans-retinal has to be handled so as to prevent nonspecific aldehyde activity.
Signaling roles of phosphoinositides in the retinaThe field of phosphoinositide signaling has expanded significantly in recent years. Phosphoinositides (also known as phosphatidylinositol phosphates or PIPs) are universal signaling molecules that directly interact with membrane proteins or with cytosolic proteins containing domains that directly bind phosphoinositides and are recruited to cell membranes. Through the activities of phosphoinositide kinases and phosphoinositide phosphatases, seven distinct phosphoinositide lipid molecules are formed from the parent molecule, phosphatidylinositol.
Retinoids in the visual cycle: role of the retinal G protein-coupled receptorDriven by the energy of a photon, the visual pigments in rod and cone photoreceptor cells isomerize 11-cis-retinal to the all-trans configuration. This photochemical reaction initiates the signal transduction pathway that eventually leads to the transmission of a visual signal to the brain and leaves the opsins insensitive to further light stimulation. For the eye to restore light sensitivity, opsins require recharging with 11-cis-retinal. This trans-cis back conversion is achieved through a series of enzymatic reactions composing the retinoid (visual) cycle.
Lipid conformational order and the etiology of cataract and dry eyeLens and tear film lipids are as unique as the systems they reside in. The major lipid of the human lens is dihydrosphingomylein, found in quantity only in the lens. The lens contains a cholesterol to phospholipid molar ratio as high as 10:1, more than anywhere else in the body. Lens lipids contribute to maintaining lens clarity, and alterations in lens lipid composition due to age are likely to contribute to cataract. Lens lipid composition reflects adaptations to the unique characteristics of the lens: no turnover of lens lipids or proteins; the lowest amount of oxygen of any tissue; and contains almost no intracellular organelles.
Docosanoid signaling modulates corneal nerve regeneration: effect on tear secretion, wound healing, and neuropathic painThe cornea is densely innervated, mainly by sensory nerves of the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal ganglia (TG). These nerves are important to maintain corneal homeostasis, and nerve damage can lead to a decrease in wound healing, an increase in corneal ulceration and dry eye disease (DED), and neuropathic pain. Pathologies, such as diabetes, aging, viral and bacterial infection, as well as prolonged use of contact lenses and surgeries to correct vision can produce nerve damage. There are no effective therapies to alleviate DED (a multifunctional disease) and several clinical trials using ω-3 supplementation show unclear and sometimes negative results.
The emerging roles of the macular pigment carotenoids throughout the lifespan and in prenatal supplementationSince the publication of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) in 2013, the macular pigment carotenoids lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) have become well known to both the eye care community and the public. It is a fascinating aspect of evolution that primates have repurposed photoprotective pigments and binding proteins from plants and insects to protect and enhance visual acuity. Moreover, utilization of these plant-derived nutrients has been widely embraced for preventing vision loss from age-related macular degeneration.
Sphingolipids as critical players in retinal physiology and pathologySphingolipids have emerged as bioactive lipids involved in the regulation of many physiological and pathological processes. In the retina, they have been established to participate in numerous processes, such as neuronal survival and death, proliferation and migration of neuronal and vascular cells, inflammation, and neovascularization. Dysregulation of sphingolipids is therefore crucial in the onset and progression of retinal diseases. This review examines the involvement of sphingolipids in retinal physiology and diseases.
Cholesterol homeostasis in the vertebrate retina: biology and pathobiologyCholesterol is a quantitatively and biologically significant constituent of all mammalian cell membrane, including those that comprise the retina. Retinal cholesterol homeostasis entails the interplay between de novo synthesis, uptake, intraretinal sterol transport, metabolism, and efflux. Defects in these complex processes are associated with several congenital and age-related disorders of the visual system. Herein, we provide an overview of the following topics: (a) cholesterol synthesis in the neural retina; (b) lipoprotein uptake and intraretinal sterol transport in the neural retina and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE); (c) cholesterol efflux from the neural retina and the RPE; and (d) biology and pathobiology of defects in sterol synthesis and sterol oxidation in the neural retina and the RPE.
Lipid metabolism dysregulation in diabetic retinopathyLipid metabolic abnormalities have emerged as potential risk factors for the development and progression of diabetic complications, including diabetic retinopathy (DR). This review article provides an overview of the results of clinical trials evaluating the potential benefits of lipid-lowering drugs, such as fibrates, omega-3 fatty acids, and statins, for the prevention and treatment of DR. Although several clinical trials demonstrated that treatment with fibrates leads to improvement of DR, there is a dissociation between the protective effects of fibrates in the retina, and the intended blood lipid classes, including plasma triglycerides, total cholesterol, or HDL:LDL cholesterol ratio.
FH through the retrospectoscopeAfter training as a gastroenterologist in the UK, the author became interested in lipidology while he was a research fellow in the USA and switched careers after returning home. Together with Nick Myant, he introduced the use of plasma exchange to treat familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) homozygotes and undertook non-steady state studies of LDL kinetics, which showed that the fractional catabolic rate of LDL remained constant irrespective of pool size. Subsequent steady-state turnover studies showed that FH homozygotes had an almost complete lack of receptor-mediated LDL catabolism, providing in vivo confirmation of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery by Goldstein and Brown that LDL receptor dysfunction was the cause of FH.
Overview of how N32 and N34 elovanoids sustain sight by protecting retinal pigment epithelial cells and photoreceptorsThe essential fatty acid DHA (22:6, omega-3 or n-3) is enriched in and required for the membrane biogenesis and function of photoreceptor cells (PRCs), synapses, mitochondria, etc. of the CNS. PRC DHA becomes an acyl chain at the sn-2 of phosphatidylcholine, amounting to more than 50% of the PRC outer segment phospholipids, where phototransduction takes place. Very long chain PUFAs (n-3, ≥ 28 carbons) are at the sn-1 of this phosphatidylcholine molecular species and interact with rhodopsin. PRC shed their tips (DHA-rich membrane disks) daily, which in turn are phagocytized by the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), where DHA is recycled back to PRC inner segments to be used for the biogenesis of new photoreceptor membranes.
Introduction to the Thematic Review Series: Seeing 2020: lipids and lipid-soluble molecules in the eyeIn 2010, this journal published a series of review articles in a Thematic Issue entitled “Lipids and Lipid Metabolism in the Eye.” Over the ensuing decade, a number of significant advances have been made that are pertinent to this broad topic, which prompted us to launch a follow-up Thematic Issue to present updates on several of the topics reviewed in that prior issue as well as to expand into new areas that previously had not been addressed. In addition to considering the conventional classes of lipids (e.g., glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, fatty acids, and sterols), we also wanted to address some key lipid-soluble molecules (e.g., retinoids, bisretinoids, and carotenoids) that play important physiological roles in ocular tissues.