Oxidative modification of skin lipids by cold atmospheric plasma (CAP): A standardizable approach using RP-LC/MS2 and DI-ESI/MS2 – Using the TriVersa NanoMate

The Advion TriVersa NanoMate nanoelectrospray ionization technology was selected as the ion source for its long, stable spray capabilities ideal for lipid analysis.



Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is an emerging source for the locally defined delivery of reactive species, and its clinical potential has been identified in the control of inflammatory processes, such as acute and chronic wounds, or cancerous lesions. Lipids, due to their localization and chemical structure as ideal targets for oxidative species, are relevant modifiers of physiological processes. Human forehead lipids collected on a target were treated by an argon plasma jet and immediately analyzed by direct-infusion high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (DI-MS2) or liquid chromatography-tandem MS (RP-LC/MS2). Subsequent data analysis was performed by LipidHunter (University of Leipzig), LipidXplorer (Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden), and LipidSearch (TS). With either MS method, all major lipid classes of sebum lipids were detected. Significant differences regarding triacylglycerols (predominantly identified in RP-LC/MS2) and ceramides (predominantly identified in DI-MS2) indicate experimental- or approach-inherent distinctions. A CAP-driven oxidation of triacyclglycerols, ceramides, and cholesteryl esters was detected such as truncations and hydroperoxylations, but at a significantly lower extent than expected. Scavenging of reactive species due to naturally present antioxidants in the samples and the absence of a liquid interphase to allow reactive species deposition by the CAP will have contributed to the limited amount of oxidation products observed. In addition, limitations of the software’s capability of identifying unexpected oxidized lipids potentially led to an underestimation of the CAP impact on skin lipids, indicating a need for further software development. With respect to the clinical application of CAP, the result indicates that intact skin with its sebum/epidermal lipid overlay is well protected and that moderate treatment will yield limited (if any) functional consequences in the dermal tissue.