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Aberrant Lipid Metabolism in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Revealed by Liver Lipidomics

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Peking University People’s Hospital, Beijing 100044, China
Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Living Biosystems, Institute of Chemistry Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Mass Spectrum Center, Beijing 100190, China
Graduate School, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(12), 2550;
Received: 25 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 28 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Pathology, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics)
PDF [3812 KB, uploaded 28 November 2017]


Background: The aim of this study was to characterize the disorder of lipid metabolism in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC is a worldwide disease. The research into the disorder of lipid metabolism in HCC is very limited. Study of lipid metabolism in liver cancer tissue may have the potential to provide new insight into HCC mechanisms. Methods: A lipidomics study of HCC based on Ultra high performance liquid chromatography-electronic spray ionization-QTOF mass spectrometer (UPLC-ESI-QTOF MS) and Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (MALDI-FTICR MS) was performed. Results: Triacylglycerols (TAGs) with the number of double bond (DB) > 2 (except 56:5 and 56:4 TAG) were significantly down-regulated; conversely, others (except 52:2 TAG) were greatly up-regulated in HCC tissues. Moreover, the more serious the disease was, the higher the saturated TAG concentration and the lower the polyunsaturated TAG concentration were in HCC tissues. The phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylinositol (PI) were altered in a certain way. Sphingomyelin (SM) was up-regulated and ceramide (Cer) were down-regulated in HCC tissues. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first such report showing a unique trend of TAG, PC, PE and PI. The use of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like eicosapentanoic and docosahexanoic acid, as supplementation, proposed for the treatment of Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), may also be effective for the treatment of HCC. View Full-Text
Keywords: triacylglycerols; phosphatidylcholine; ceramide; mass spectrometry; UPLC-ESI-QTOF MS triacylglycerols; phosphatidylcholine; ceramide; mass spectrometry; UPLC-ESI-QTOF MS

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, Z.; Guan, M.; Lin, Y.; Cui, X.; Zhang, Y.; Zhao, Z.; Zhu, J. Aberrant Lipid Metabolism in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Revealed by Liver Lipidomics. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 2550.

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