Modern separation techniques coupled to high performance mass spectrometry for glycolipid analysis

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Feb 8, 2018
  • Author: Mirela Sarbu, Alina Diana Zamfir


Glycolipids (GLs), involved in biological processes and pathologies, such as viral, neurodegenerative and oncogenic transformations are in the focus of research related to method development for structural analysis. This review highlights modern separation techniques coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) for the investigation of GLs from various biological matrices. First section is dedicated to methods, which, although provide the separation in a non‐liquid phase, are able to supply important data on the composition of complex mixtures. While classical thin layer chromatography (TLC) is useful for MS analyses of the fractionated samples, ultramodern ion mobility (IMS) characterized by high reproducibility facilitates to discover minor species and to apply low sample amounts, in addition to providing conformational separation with isomer discrimination. Second section highlights the advantages, applications and limitations of liquid‐based separation techniques such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) in direct or indirect coupling to MS for glycolipidomics surveys. The on‐ and off‐line capillary electrophoresis (CE) MS, offering a remarkable separation efficiency of GLs is also presented and critically assessed from the technical and application perspective in the final part of the review.

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