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Lipid Profiling of Blood Samples Reveals Biomarkers for Cardiometabolic Disease Risk

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 Apr 2022
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Image: Lipidomics provides new biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes (Photo courtesy of DIfE)
Image: Lipidomics provides new biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes (Photo courtesy of DIfE)

A lipidomics-based analysis of plasma samples from a large cohort of participants identified several lipids associated with cardiometabolic disease risk that might serve as biomarkers for diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.

Lipidomics is the large-scale study of pathways and networks of cellular lipids in biological systems. The word "lipidome" is used to describe the complete lipid profile within a cell, tissue, organism, or ecosystem and is a subset of the "metabolome" which also includes the three other major classes of biological molecules: proteins/amino-acids, sugars, and nucleic acids. Lipidomics is a relatively recent research field that has been driven by rapid advances in technologies such as mass spectrometry (MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, dual polarization interferometry, and computational methods coupled with the recognition of the role of lipids in many metabolic diseases such as obesity, atherosclerosis, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for around 18 million deaths per year. People with Type II diabetes have a two- to threefold increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Accordingly, there is a great need to identify biomarkers that can indicate the development of disease at an early stage in order to prevent or at least mitigate its onset.

In this regard, investigators at the German Institute of Human Nutrition (DifE) of the German Center for Diabetes Research (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung) evaluated the fatty acid profiles in 2,414 blood samples from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam study. The samples were collected as early as the 1990s and in part came from participants who developed cardiovascular disease or Type II diabetes in subsequent years.

Using high-throughput lipidomics, the investigators identified a total of 282 different lipids, 69 of which were associated with at least one of the two diseases. Several monoacylglycerols and 16 and 18 chain fatty acids in diacylglycerols were associated with both outcomes. Cholesteryl esters, free fatty acids, and sphingolipids were largely cardiovascular disease-specific, while several (glycero)phospholipids were Type II diabetes-specific.

First author Dr. Fabian Eichelmann, a researcher in the department of molecular epidemiology at the German Institute of Human Nutrition and at the German Center for Diabetes Research, said, "A statistical association with cardiovascular diseases was found for 49 lipids, which mainly belonged to the cholesterol esters and sphingolipids. Twelve lipids were associated with Type II diabetes, the majority of which were glycerol and phospholipids. An association with both diseases was seen for eight lipids, among which several monoacylglycerides stood out."

The study was published in the April 15, 2022, online edition of the journal Circulation.

Related Links:
German Institute of Human Nutrition 
German Center for Diabetes Research 

 

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