Squalene is a terpenoid found in human skin surface lipids (SSLs) and foods that possesses beneficial properties. However, since oxidation of squalene causes various complications, it is necessary to identify the mechanisms by which squalene is oxidized. In this study, we aimed to determine the oxidation mechanisms of squalene in SSLs and shark liver oil (SLO) supplements by the analysis of squalene monohydroperoxide (SQOOH) isomers, on the basis of our previous finding that different oxidation mechanisms yield different SQOOH isomers. Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry analysis of SQOOH isomers revealed that squalene in human SSLs was oxidized by singlet oxygen oxidation, whereas squalene in SLO was oxidized mainly by free radicals. As a result, we have presented the first evidence suggesting that the analysis of SQOOH isomers enables estimation of oxidation mechanisms. Estimating oxidation mechanisms by analyzing SQOOH isomers may provide a foundation for the prevention of skin diseases and food deterioration via regulation of squalene oxidation.
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