Raman imaging providing insights into chemical composition of lipid droplets of different size and origin: in hepatocytes and endothelium

Katarzyna Majzner, Kamila Kochan, Neli Kachamakova-Trojanowska, Edyta Maslak, Stefan Chlopicki, Malgorzata Baranska

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52 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, 3D linear Raman spectroscopy was used to study lipid droplets (LDs) ex vivo in liver tissue and also in vitro in a single endothelial cell. Spectroscopic measurements combined with fluorescence microscopy and/or histochemical staining gave complex chemical information about LD composition and enabled detailed investigations of the changes occurring in various pathological states. Lipid analysis in fatty liver tissue was performed using a dietary mouse model of liver steatosis, induced by a high fat diet (HFD). HFD is characterized by a high percentage of calories from saturated fat (60%) and reflects closely the detrimental effects of dietary habits responsible for increased morbidity due to obesity and its complications in well-developed Western societies. Such diets lead to obesity, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, and steatosis that may also be linked to endothelial dysfunction. In the present work, Raman spectroscopy was applied to characterized chemical composition of lipid droplets in hepatocytes from mice fed HFD and in the endothelium treated with exogenous unsaturated free fatty acid (arachidonic acid). The results demonstrate the usefulness of Raman spectroscopy to characterize intracellular lipid distribution in 2D and 3D images and can be used to determine the degree of saturation. Raman spectroscopy shows the potential to be a valuable tool for studying the role of LDs in physiology and pathology. The method is generally applicable for the determination of LDs of different size, origin, and composition. Moreover, for the first time, the process of LD formation in the endothelium was detected and visualized in 3D. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6666-6674
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

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