Oxylipins (e.g. eicosanoids) are endogenous signaling molecules that are formed from fatty acids by mono- or dioxygenase-catalyzed oxygenation and have been shown to play an important role in pathophysiological processes in the lung. These lipid mediators have been extensively for their role in inflammation in a broad swathe of respiratory diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis. Traditional efforts have employed analytical methods (e.g. radio- and enzyme-immunoassay techniques) capable of measuring a limited number of compounds simultaneously. The advent of the omics technologies is changing this approach and methods are being developed for the quantification of small molecules (i.e. metabolomics) as well as lipid-focused efforts (i.e. lipidomics). This review examines in detail the breadth of oxylipins and their biological activity in the respiratory system. In addition, the state-of-the-art methodology in profiling of oxylipins via mass spectrometry is summarized including sample work-up and data processing. These methods will greatly increase our ability to probe oxylipin biology and examine for cross-talk between biological pathways as well as specific compartments in the body. These new data will increase our insight into disease processes and have great potential to identify new biomarkers for disease diagnosis as well as novel therapeutic targets.
Keywords: Inflammation, lung, mass spectrometry, multivariate analysis, oxylipin, eicosanoid, metabolomics, ipidomics, respiratory disease, asthma, Oxylipins, dioxygenase-catalyzed oxygenation, cystic fibrosis, biomarkers
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