Non-targeted lipidomics of CSF and frontal cortex grey and white matter in control, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's disease subjects

Paul L. Wood, Brooke L. Barnette, Jeffrey A. Kaye, Joseph F. Quinn, Randall L. Woltjer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Objective: We undertook a non-targeted lipidomics analysis of post-mortem cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), frontal cortex grey matter, and subjacent white matter to define potential biomarkers that distinguish cognitively intact subjects from those with incipient or established dementia. Our objective was to increase our understanding of the role of brain lipids in pathophysiology of aging and age-related cognitive impairment. Methods: Levels of 650 individual lipids, across 26 lipid subclasses, were measured utilising a high-resolution mass spectrometric analysis platform. Results: Monoacylglycerols (MAG), diacylglycerols (DAG), and the very-long-chain fatty acid 26:0 were elevated in the grey matter of the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and old dementia (OD) cohorts. Ethanolamine plasmalogens (PlsEtn) were decreased in the grey matter of the young dementia (YD) and OD cohorts while and phosphatidylethanolamines (PtdEth) were lower in the MCI, YD and OD cohorts. In the white matter, decrements in sulphatide levels were detected in the YD group, DAG levels were elevated in the MCI group, and MAG levels were increased in the YD and OD groups. Conclusion: The parallel changes in grey matter MAGs and DAGs in the MCI and OD groups suggest that these two cohorts may have a similar underlying pathophysiology; consistent with this, MCI subjects were more similar in age to OD than to YD subjects. While PlsEtn and phosphatidylethanolamine were decreased in the YD and OD groups they were unaltered in the MCI group indicating that alterations in plasmalogen synthesis are unlikely to represent an initiating event in the transition from MCI to dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-278
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neuropsychiatrica
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • diacylglycerols
  • frontal cortex
  • lipidomics
  • mild cognitive impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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