Nanoscale, 2023, 15, 11038-11051

The lipidomic profile of the nanoparticle-biomolecule corona reflects the diversity of plasma lipids

Lana Papafilippou, Anna Nicolaou, Alexandra Kendall, Dolores Camacho-Muñoz, Marilena Hadjidemetriou*

The spontaneous self-assembly of biomolecules around the surface of nanoparticles (NPs) once exposed to plasma and other biofluids, has been termed the ‘biomolecule corona’. While the protein composition of the biomolecule corona has been widely characterised, the interaction of NPs with the plasma lipidome has not been fully investigated. Here, we use targeted and untargeted lipidomics to analyse a wide spectrum of bioactive lipids adsorbed onto the surface of liposome NPs post-incubation with human plasma. Our data indicate that the biomolecule corona contains a diverse mixture of simple and complex lipid species, including sphingolipids such as ceramides and sphingomyelins, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, cholesteryl esters, as well as oxylipin and N-acyl ethanolamine derivatives of fatty acids. Although the corona lipidomic profiles reflected the overall composition of the plasma lipidome, monohydroxy- and oxo-fatty acid oxylipins, mono-, di- and tri- acylglycerols, sphingomyelins and ceramides showed a preferential binding for liposome NP surface. Interestingly, the biomolecule corona lipid profiles appeared to mirror those of the lipoprotein lipid cargo, suggesting that lipid species may be carried within the lipoprotein complexes attached to the corona. Proteomic analysis of corona-associated proteins showed the presence of several apolipoproteins (A-I, A-II, A-IV, B, C-I, C-III, C-IV, C2-C4, D, E, L, M and lipoprotein Lp(A)), supporting this notion. Our findings reveal the wide lipid diversity of the biomolecule corona and indicate a potential lipoprotein-mediated adsorption mechanism of lipids onto liposome NPs, highlighting the importance of bridging proteomics with lipidomics to fully comprehend the interactions at the bio-nano interface.