Research Summary: Sphingolipids as New Biomarkers for Assessment of Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity and Response to Triptolide



Hypersensitivity diseases are associated with many severe human illnesses, including leprosy and tuberculosis. Emerging evidence suggests that the pathogenesis and pathological mechanisms of treating these diseases may be attributable to sphingolipid metabolism.


High performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was employed to target and measure 43 core sphingolipids in the plasma, kidneys, livers and spleens of BALB/c mice from four experimental groups: control, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) model, DTH+triptolide, and control+triptolide. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) was used to identify potential biomarkers associated with variance between groups. Relationships between the identified biomarkers and disease markers were evaluated by Spearman correlation.


As a treatment to hypersensitivity disease, triptolide significantly inhibit the ear swelling and recover the reduction of splenic index caused by DTH. The sphingolipidomic result revealed marked alterations in sphingolipid levels between groups that were associated with the effects of the disease and triptolide treatment. Based on this data, 23 potential biomarkers were identified by OPLS-DA, and seven of these biomarkers correlated markedly with the disease markers (p<0.05) by Spearman correlation.


These data indicate that differences in sphingolipid levels in plasma and tissues are related to DTH and treatment with triptolide. Restoration of proper sphingolipid levels may attribute to the therapeutic effect of triptolide treatment. Furthermore, these findings demonstrate that targeted sphingolipidomic analysis followed by multivariate analysis presents a novel strategy for the identification of biomarkers in biological samples.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 26-December-2012

Author(s): Qu F., Wu C., Hou J., Jin Y., Zhang J.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *