Profiling fatty acids in dengue fever

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  • Published: Jan 4, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Base Peak / X-ray Spectrometry / Chemometrics & Informatics / Raman / Infrared Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base / Atomic / Proteomics

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Dengue fever is an infectious tropical viral disease spread by mosquitoes that causes uncomfortable symptoms and can be fatal. Like other diseases, it is accompanied by changes in the lipid composition, particularly reduced levels of cholesterol and high- and low-density lipoprotein, and the associated esterified fatty acids (EFAs) have been proposed as indicators of the disease.

There are many different EFAs in human plasma and it can be difficult to analyse them all. One classical procedure involves transmethylation of the EFAs that are attached to lipids followed by GC/MS of the resulting methyl esters (FAMEs) but some published methods that include this step cannot prevent their coelution from the GC column, so complicating their measurement.

A novel method described in Journal of Separation Science aims to provide better separation of 17 of the FAMEs encountered, leading to better diagnosis of dengue fever. Using an optimised extraction and transmethylation procedure, and the use of the ethyl ester of myristic acid as an internal standard, the esters were all well-separated on a dimethylpolysiloxane column before mass spectrometric quantification.

The levels of four saturated fatty acids, eight unsaturated fatty acids and three ω-6 fatty acids were decreased in the blood of dengue fever patients. These results were attainable from just 100 µL of blood and should enable the diagnosis of patients in the early febrile stages of infection. The procedure has the potential to be applied to other viral diseases for which fatty acid esters can act as biomarkers.

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