As a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle as well as changed nutritional behavior, today’s societies are challenged by the rapid propagation of metabolic disorders. A common feature of diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D), is the dysregulation of lipid metabolism. Our understanding of the mechanisms underlying these diseases is hampered by the complexity of lipid metabolic pathways on a cellular level. Furthermore, overall lipid homeostasis in higher eukaryotic organisms needs to be maintained by a highly regulated interplay between tissues, such as adipose tissue, liver and muscle. Unraveling pathological mechanisms underlying metabolic disorders therefore requires a diversified approach, integrating basic cellular research with clinical research, ultimately relying on the analytical power of mass spectrometry-based techniques. Here, we discuss recent progress in the development of lipidomics approaches to resolve the pathological mechanisms of metabolic diseases and to identify suitable biomarkers for clinical application. Due to its growing impact worldwide, we focus on T2D to highlight the key role of lipidomics in our current understanding of this disease, discuss remaining questions and suggest future strategies to address them.
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