Advances in the design of electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) over recent years have revolutionized approaches to the study of lipids and lipid metabolism. In additional to providing compositional information in great detail and at high sensitivity, with minimal sample preparation, ESI-MS coupled with the incorporation of substrates labelled with stable isotopes permits the analysis of rates of synthesis and turnover of individual lipid molecular species. Also, being non-radioactive, this technology is readily used in clinical studies to probe disease mechanisms directly.

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