Purpose of review: The metabolic syndrome incorporating obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and elevated plasma glucose has reached epidemic proportions in many Western countries leading to a dramatic increase in insulin resistance, steatosis and type 2 diabetes. Lipidomics presents a new set of tools to unravel the relationship between hyper-caloric diets and other environmental and genetic factors with the metabolic syndrome and disease progression.
Recent findings: Plasma lipidomic studies are providing detailed characterisation of the dyslipidaemia associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Combined with lipoprotein fractionation and dynamic modelling we are gaining a new comprehension of lipoprotein composition structure and function. At the population level genome-wide association studies are identifying potential loci linking lipid metabolism with disease pathogenesis. Analysis of tissue, cell and even organelle lipidomes are unravelling the complex relationships between lipotoxicity, inflammation, oxidative stress and cellular function.
Summary: The global view of lipid metabolism offered by lipidomics is accelerating our understanding of disease processes and identifying new avenues of research into metabolic syndrome and its sequelae. The ongoing identification and validation of lipid biomarkers will likely see their introduction into clinical practice for improved quantification of disease risk, earlier identification of disease and improved patient management in the near future.