LC/MS analysis of stratum corneum lipids: ceramide profiling and discovery

Ceramides (CERs) in the upper layer of the skin, the stratum corneum (SC), play a key role in the skin barrier function. In human SC, the literature currently reports 11 CER subclasses that have been identified. In this paper, a novel quick and robust LC/MS method is presented that allows the separation and analysis of all known human SC CER subclasses using only limited sample preparation. Besides all 11 known and identified subclasses, a 3D multi-mass chromatogram shows the presence of other lipid subclasses. Using LC/MS/MS with an ion trap (IT) system, a Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance system, and a triple quadrupole system, we were able to identify one of these lipid subclasses as a new CER subclass: the ester-linked ω-hydroxy fatty acid with a dihydrosphingosine base (CER [EOdS]). Besides the identification of a new CER subclass, this paper also describes the applicability and robustness of the developed LC/MS method by analyzing three (biological) SC samples: SC from human dermatomed skin, human SC obtained by tape stripping, and SC from full-thickness skin explants. All three biological samples showed all known CER subclasses and slight differences were observed in CER profile.


J. van Smeden, L. Hoppel, R. van der Heijden, T. Hankemeier, R.J. Vreeken, J.A. Bouwstra
Authors from the NMC: 
2011; 52 (6): 1211-1221
Published in: 
Journal of Lipid Research
Date of publication: 
June, 2011
Status of the publication: