Lipidomics in Organic Pollutants Research

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have recently received a lot of research and media attention due to their pervasive use in consumer products (textiles, cookware, cleaning products), aqueous fire-fighting foams, surfactants, adhesives, and protective coatings, among others. These lipophilic compounds are known to bioaccumulate in blood-rich tissues and have been shown to modulate lipid levels in various models through diverse mechanisms, including nuclear receptor activation.

For example, prenatal perfluorooctanesulfonate exposure in rats was shown to significantly reduce the levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in offspring testes, as well as interfering with lipid signaling pathways critical for normal reproductive development. Similar observations have been reported in human studies, with effects on cord serum glycerophospholipids during pregnancy being associated to an increased risk for type-1 diabetes in newborns (Fig1).

Impact of prenatal exposure of selected PFAS on specific lipidsFig1. Impact of prenatal exposure of selected PFAS on specific lipids (McGlinchey, Aidan.; et al, 2020)

Organic pollutants (e.g., bisphenols A, S, and F, polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, among others) are present in pesticides, plastics, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, and personal care products, and have been of particular interest owing to their abilities to dysregulate lipid homeostasis.

BPS exposure in mice has been observed to stimulate the deposition of sphingolipids and glycerophospholipids in the spleen, resulting in toxicity and splenic injury, whereas BPF exposure affected glycerophospholipid levels and stimulated tumor growth in breast cancer xenografts in mouse liver and kidne (Fig2).

Toxicological mechanisms of bisphenol F in breast cancer xenograftsFig2. Toxicological mechanisms of bisphenol F in breast cancer xenografts (Zhao, Chao.; et al, 2018)

Other organic pollutants known to influence lipid levels in vivo include tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, organophosphates, pesticides, and herbicides, as well as anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents.

With decades of operational experience and technology platform, Creative Proteomics provides reliable, rapid, and cost-effective untargeted lipidomics and targeted lipidomics services based on GC/LC-MS and shot-gun methods for environmental toxicology research (organic pollutants).

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  1. McGlinchey, Aidan.; et al. Prenatal exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances modulates neonatal serum phospholipids, increasing risk of type 1 diabetes. Environment International. 2020, 143: 105935.
  2. Zhao, Chao.; et al. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics reveal toxicological mechanisms of bisphenol F in breast cancer xenografts. Journal of hazardous materials. 2018, 358: 503-507.
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