, Volume 82, Issue 1, pp 77–100 | Cite as

Liquid Chromatography Techniques in Lipidomics Research

  • Mike Lange
  • Zhixu Ni
  • Angela Criscuolo
  • Maria FedorovaEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. 50th Anniversary Commemorative Issue


Lipids represent a very diverse group of compounds with a high variety of physicochemical properties determining their functional activities. For omics-wide identification of lipid species from complex biological samples, several crucial analytical steps including extraction, chromatographic separation and mass spectrometry analysis need to be carefully considered and validated. Here we review applications of three main chromatography techniques—reversed phase, normal phase and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography—for analysis of complex natural lipidomes aiming to uncover the diversity of lipid species. To correlate lipid separation with their physicochemical properties, lipid chemical space was reconstructed and used to explain principles underlying different chromatographic techniques. Furthermore, examples of available methods for analysis of complex natural lipidomes characterized by high diversity and dynamic range of lipid concentrations are illustrated for adipose tissue lipidomics.

Graphical Abstract


Lipids Lipidomics Liquid chromatography RP-LC NP-LC HILIC Adipose tissue 



















Argentation/silver ion HPLC


Ammonium formate


Ammonium acetate


Accessible surface area


Acylated steryl glycosides


Adipose tissue


Ethylene bridged hybrid


Octadecyl derivatized silica




Triacontanyl derivatized silica


Butyl derivatized silica


Octyl derivatized silica


Cholesteryl esters




Non-hydroxy fatty acid ceramides


Hydroxy fatty acid ceramide




Free cholesterol




Charge modulated hydroxyethyl amide HILIC




Cholesteryl sulfate








Data-dependent acquisition














Equivalent carbon number


Electrospray ionization


Ethyl acetate




Formic acid


Fatty acid methyl esters


Free fatty acid


Fully porous particles




Non-hydroxy galactosylceramide








Phosphoric acid








Hydrophilic interaction chromatography


Acetic acid










Lipoamino acid




Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry


Lysophosphatidic acid


Lysophosphatidic acid












Mobile phase


Molecular descriptor




Monoalkyl diacylglycerol






Mass spectrometry










Normal phase chromatography


Phosphatidic acid




Principal component 1


Principal component 2


Principal component analysis
















Polyvinyl alcohol


Reversed phase


Reversed phase chromatography






Solid core particles


Supercritical fluid chromatography


Steryl glycosides




Silica hydride




Stationary phase










Sulfoqunovosyl diacylglycerol








Trifluoro acetic acid






Visceral adipose tissue


White adipose tissue



Financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the e:Med research and funding concept for SysMedOS project (to MF) and EU H2020 funded project MASSTRPLAN (Grant number 675132; to MF) are gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10337_2018_3656_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 37 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Lange
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhixu Ni
    • 1
    • 2
  • Angela Criscuolo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Fedorova
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institut für Bioanalytische Chemie, Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy, Biotechnologisch-Biomedizinisches ZentrumLeipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Center for Biotechnology and BiomedicineUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Thermo Fisher Scientific (Bremen) GmbHBremenGermany

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