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Current Analytical Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 1573-4110
ISSN (Online): 1875-6727

Review Article

MALDI MS Analysis to Investigate the Lipid Composition of Sperm

Author(s): Kathrin M. Engel, Ulrike Jakop, Karin Müller, Sonja Grunewald, Uwe Paasch and Jürgen Schiller*

Volume 16, Issue 1, 2020

Page: [79 - 91] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/1573411014666181030123256

Price: $65


Background: The sperm plasma membrane meets the requirements of sperm transit through the female genital tract and subsequent fertilization. Commonly, the (phospho)lipid composition of sperm is characterized by tremendous amounts of highly unsaturated fatty acyl residues such as docosahexaenoic and docosapentaenoic acid. While human sperm contain almost exclusively diacyl lipids, many animal sperm additionally contain significant amounts of ether lipids such as alkylacyl- and alkenyl-acyl lipids (plasmalogens).

Hypothesis/Objective: It is suggested that deviations from the typical lipid composition are indicative of pathological changes. Therefore, simple methods to elucidate the sperm lipid composition are essential.

Method: Matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS) is a fast and simple method. Since the selection of the most suitable matrix is a crucial step in MALDI MS, this topic will be highlighted. It will also be shown that MALDI MS can be easily combined with thin-layer chromatography to overcome ion suppression effects.

Results: The lipid composition of sperm from different species can be elucidated by MALDI MS. However, different matrix compounds have to be used to record positive and negative ion mass spectra. Since some sperm (glyco)lipids are characterized by the presence of sulfate residues which suppress the detection of less acidic lipids in the negative ion mode, previous separation is often necessary. It will be also emphasized that plasmalogens can be easily identified by either enzymatic digestion or treatment with acids.

Conclusion: MALDI MS is a reliable method to obtain sperm lipid fingerprints in a simple and convenient way.

Keywords: Lipid oxidation, MALDI, mass spectrometry, phospholipids, sperm, TLC.

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