Plasma lipidomics reveal systemic changes persistent throughout early life following a childhood burn injury

Eva Kierath, Monique Ryan, Elaine Holmes, Jeremy K. Nicholson, Mark W. Fear, Fiona M. Wood, Luke Whiley, Nicola Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Non-severe paediatric burns can result in poor long-term health outcomes. This occurs even in cases with good acute burn-related outcomes, including minimal scarring. The mechanisms that underpin the transition from non-severe burn to sustained negative long-term health impacts are currently unknown. However, sustained metabolic and immune changes have been observed in paediatric burn studies, suggesting these changes may be important. The plasma lipidome consists of a rich pool of bioactive metabolites that play critical roles in systemic processes including molecular signalling and inflammation. We hypothesised that changes in the plasma lipidome may reflect underlying changes in health status and be linked to long-term health after burn trauma. Methods: This study analysed the lipidome in children who had previously experienced a non-severe burn, compared to non-injured controls. Thirty-three participants were recruited between the ages of 5 and 8 years who had experienced a non-severe burn between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Plasma samples were also collected from a non-injured, healthy, age and gender matched control group (n = 21). Plasma lipids were measured using reversed-phase liquid chromatographymass spectrometery (LC-MS). Results: In total 838 reproducible lipid species from 19 sub-classes passed quality control procedures and progressed to statistical analysis. Analysis of individual lipid metabolites showed significantly higher concentrations of lysophosphatidylethanolamines and phosphatidylethanolamines, and significantly lower concentrations in myristic, palmitic and palmitoleic acids in the plasma of those who had experienced burn injury compared to controls. Conclusion: Long-term changes in the lipid profile may give insight into the mechanisms underlying poor long-term health subsequent to non-severe burn injury. Further work to investigate the relationship between long-term pathology and lipidomic changes may lead to a better understanding of the causes of secondary morbidity post-burn and to clinical intervention to reduce the long-term health burden of burn trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbertkad044
JournalBurns and Trauma
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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