Lysophospholipids (LysoGPs) serve as lipid mediators and precursors for synthesis of diacyl phospholipids (GPs). LysoGPs detected in cells have various acyl chains attached at either the sn-1 or sn-2 position of the glycerol backbone. In general, acyl chains at the sn-2 position of 2-acyl-1-LysoGPs readily move to the sn-1 position, generating 1-acyl-2-lyso isomers by a nonenzymatic reaction called intra-molecular acyl migration, which has hampered the detection of 2-acyl-1-LysoGPs in biological samples. In this study, we developed a simple and versatile method to separate and quantify 2-acyl-1- and 1-acyl-2-LysoGPs. The main point of the method was to extract LysoGPs at pH 4 and 4°C, conditions that were found to completely eliminate the intra-molecular acyl migration. Under the present conditions, the relative amounts of 2-acyl-1-LysoGPs and 1-acyl-2-LysoGPs did not change at least for 1 week. Further, in LysoGPs extracted from cells and tissues under the present conditions, most of the saturated fatty acids (16:0 and 18:0) were found in the sn-1 position of LysoGPs, while most of the PUFAs (18:2, 20:4, 22:6) were found in the sn-2 position. Thus the method can be used to elucidate the in vivo role of 2-acyl-1-LysoGPs.
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