Dr. Martin Giera, Head of the Metabolomics Group, Leiden University Medical Center
The Metabolomics Group at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands works in collaboration with several research groups, applying mainly lipidomics to a variety of disease areas, such as inflammation, infection, obesity, and migraine. In order to generate reproducible data, sometimes for large-scale clinical studies, the department relies on a broad range of rugged and robust state-of-the art analytical platforms, including the Lipidyzer™ Platform.
Metabolomics is a key diagnostic and prognostic tool that can be used to investigate susceptibility to disease, disease mechanisms, and treatment outcomes. The Metabolomics Group at the Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), is a core research facility that collaborates closely with other clinical and research groups within the hospital, across the country and internationally.
The group has a particular focus on lipidomics, as Dr. Martin Giera, Head of the Metabolomics Group, explained, “Our main interests in lipidomics research include lipid remodeling during acute inflammation, the effects of bioactive lipids on the course of inflammation, and metabolic profiling in the field of biomarker discovery.
These projects can involve anything from short chain fatty acids to sterols, oxylipids, and the entire lipidome, and we use a variety of analytical platforms for this work, including LC-MS, GC-MS, and NMR. We have recently added a Lipidyzer Platform from SCIEX to our instrument portfolio, which will allow us to perform large-scale clinical research studies involving thousands of samples. Robust, reproducible, validated analytical platforms like this are vital for studies of this size, to ensure that the data generated is comparable.”
Martin continued, “My first encounter with SCIEX came many years ago when I visited the Harvard Medical School to learn about lipid mediator analysis. The laboratory there was using a SCIEX QTRAP® System for its studies, and I saw that in comparison to my own laboratory’s mass spectrometers, it was much more robust and sensitive, particularly for this type of analysis. As a result, when we decided to establish our own program for research into bioactive lipid mediators four or five years ago, we chose the QTRAP 6500 System. Biological samples are frequently ‘dirty’ or contaminated, and this can cause problems during analysis, leading to unplanned downtime.
The QTRAP System has proved a very reliable solution, and has no trouble running biological samples; the design of the skimmer inlet allows us to run the system for a very long time without it clogging, whether we are analyzing plasma samples or cells.”
We already have some in-house epidemiological research cohorts at LUMC, and ultimately we want to extend this work to include investigation of the lipidome, and so we recently invested in a Lipidyzer Platform to help with these studies. The big advantage of the Lipidyzer Platform is that it is a complete solution. When we perform lipidomics studies on some of our other platforms, a lot of programming is necessary to analyze the data, which involves writing R scripts to help work out which lipids are present. The Lipidyzer Platform can identify over a thousand lipids, presenting the results in a straightforward spreadsheet, which is so much easier. It is ideal for our clinical research studies, and could also be applied to food lipidomics in the future by extending the panel of lipid classes.”
“Initially, we plan to carry out smaller projects looking at sepsis and intraperitoneal feeding and have just run some samples to study immune cell metabolism. We are currently analyzing the data from our early projects, which looks good and is very information rich.
A particular issue with lipidomics is isotopic overlap. It is not uncommon for a laboratory to think that two different species have been identified when, in fact, one of the masses is actually an isotope of the other lipid. The Lipidyzer Platform’s combination of QTRAP and SelexION® technology, plus a pre-programmed MRM method, provides orthogonal selectivity of the multidimensional lipidomics.
This means we can be certain that the lipid has been correctly identified, and we are not looking at the second or third isotope of a different compound.”
“SCIEX is a really good partner for us. There is so much knowledge among its staff, and working with the company gives us the best approach to solving the analytical challenges we face in our laboratory,” Martin concluded.
This article is from the 2017 edition of the SCIEX VISION journal. You can download the full version of the journal which includes over 10 customer research stories. Download now >
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