Targeted Lipidomics To Measure Phospholipids and Sphingomyelins in Plasma: A Pilot Study To Understand the Impact of Race/Ethnicity in Alzheimer's Disease.


The number of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease (AD) is increasing rapidly every year. One aspect of AD that is often overlooked is the disproportionate incidence of AD among African American/Black populations. With the recent development of novel assays for lipidomics analysis in recent times, there has been a drastic increase in the number of studies focusing on changes of lipids in AD. However, very few of these studies have focused on or even included samples from African American/Black individuals samples. In this study, we aimed to determine if the lipidome in AD is universal across non-Hispanic White and African American/Black individuals. To accomplish this, a targeted mass spectrometry lipidomics analysis was performed on plasma samples ( = 113) obtained from cognitively normal (CN, = 54) and AD ( = 59) individuals from African American/Black ( = 56) and non-Hispanic White ( = 57) backgrounds. Five lipids (PS 18:0_18:0, PS 18:0_20:0, PC 16:0_22:6, PC 18:0_22:6, and PS 18:1_22:6) were altered between AD and CN sample groups ( value < 0.05). Upon racial stratification, there were notable differences in lipids that were unique to African American/Black or non-Hispanic White individuals. PS 20:0_20:1 was reduced in AD in samples from non-Hispanic White but not African American/Black adults. We also tested whether race/ethnicity significantly modified the association between lipids and AD status by including a race × diagnosis interaction term in a linear regression model. PS 20:0_20:1 showed a significant interaction ( = 0.004). The discovery of lipid changes in AD in this study suggests that identifying relevant lipid biomarkers for diagnosis will require diversity in sample cohorts.