Conventional and Current Methods for the Analysis of Hydroxy Fatty Acids
Hydroxy fatty acids (HFAs) are important constituents of cellular structures. They are involved in processes such as the moderation of membrane fluidity, single- or multi-cellular signaling processes and the self-defense of organisms. These bioactivities are often distinct from those of their non-hydroxy metabolic precursors or analogs. Furthermore, their presence is an indicator of the extent of lipid oxidation, metabolic status, disease development and species identification. Due to their low abundance (with a few notable exceptions), and their complexity and susceptibility to isomerize and degrade, HFA profiles can be difficult to determine and quantify. However, such information is critically important to understanding the biological processes in which they participate. This chapter is a summary of the progress that has been made to identify and quantify HFAs. It begins with a description of the biological significance of HFAs, which has stimulated interest in developing novel approaches to the qualitative and quantitative measurement of HFA species and profiles.