HomePh.D. Study at IOCBArchive - 2010Analytical Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry

Tutor RNDr. Josef Cvačka, Ph.D.
Team Mass Spectrometry (Josef Cvačka)
Topic Characterization of lipids of vernix caseosa by mass spectrometry
Faculty PřF UK

Vernix caseosa is a cheese-like white substance coating the skin of human newborns. It fulfills numerous functions prior and in several days after delivery. The main function of vernix caseosa is the protection of skin against maceration and later dessication, temperature regulation and antimicrobial protection. Vernix caseosa is used e.g., as a diagnostic criterion for fetus maturation and health conditions of mother before delivery, or as a prognostic index of weight of the newborn. Several health complications of mother and newborn are associated with vernix caseosa. Vernix caseosa is composed of water, lipids and proteins. Lipids consist of cholesteryl esters and wax esters, triacylglycerols, ceramides, phospholipids and several other lipid classes.

The aim of this project is to disclose the composition of vernix caseosa in very details using state of the art chromatographic and mass spectrometric methods. Two approaches will be used. The first approach is a classical procedure based on separating lipids into the classes and detailed analysis of the molecular species within a class using HPLC/MS. The second one is a lipidomic approach when the lipid extracts are directly infused into high-resolution mass spectrometer. HPLC and UHPLC systems with mass spectrometry detectors allowing low-resolution (ion trap) and high-resolution (orbitrap) measurement are available. The results will be processed using statistical methods to compare lipid profiles of samples obtained from newborns delivered in various pregnancy terms and differing in sex and health state of both child and mother. The project is going to be done in cooperation with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague.