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Click-mass spectrometry of lipids.

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20180815002
Publication Date: 15 August 2018


A German university offers click-mass spectrometry to trace the metabolism of fatty acids and sterols. This new method is characterized by higher sensitivity than conventional methods and faster detection. Furthermore it is free of radioactivity and can be combined with other analysis methods. Licensees from the pharmaceutical industry are sought.


Aberrations in fatty acid metabolism are associated with pathological states and have become a focus of current research, particularly due to the interest in metabolic overload diseases. Special mass spectrometry (MS)  may help to understand and detect diseases, such as, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. 
For studying the lipid metabolism, it is common that labeled precursor substances are administered to a test system, in which they can be introduced into newly synthetized lipids. Well-known analysis methods introduce labeling with radioisotopes (such as 3H or 14C), stable isotopes (2H, 13C) or fluorescence labels (e.g. fluorescent lipids). Up to now, the lipid metabolism is mostly monitored by methods using radioactive tracer.

All these known methods have one or more disadvantages, such as long analysis times in the range of several days, only low to moderate sensitivity or resolution, complex analysis methods or complex sample preparation before analysis.

A German university now offers an innovative click-chemistry-based method that allows tracing of fatty acid metabolism in virtually any biological system. It combines high sensitivity with excellent linearity and fast sample turnover. Since it is free of radioactivity, it can be combined with any other modern analysis technology and can be used in high-throughput applications.

In an improved and preferred method, multiplexing of samples can be carried out. After the labeling reaction, samples are combined for MS analysis. This increases the sample turnover and improves comparison by reducing stochastic experimental variations. Absolute quantification along with correction for labeling efficiency is achieved by internal standardization, using a set of alkyne-labeled synthetic standard lipids.

The university offers licenses to pharmaceutical companies, wishing to integrate this technology in their portfolio.

Advantages and Innovations

The new click-chemistry-based method has a higher sensitivity than comparable analysis procedures. It thus provides a fast detection method for tracing of fatty acid metabolism without usage of radioisotopes and offers the following advantages:
• Hundreds of labelled species detected by automated analysis of primary MS data
• Simple absolute quantification by internal standardization
• Combination of any other analysis method possible
• High stability of bicyclic triazolium ions leads to predictable fragmentation
• Heavy-atom labelled compounds enable multiplex analysis

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Stage Of Development Comment

Proof of function

Requested partner

Industrial licensees are sought from the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector, who are, e.g., active in lipid analysis and mass spectrometry. The partners should implement the method in order to improve diagnostics.

Cooperation offer ist closed for requests