Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is an endotoxin, a potent stimulator of immune response and induction of LPS leads to acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a life-threatening disease worldwide with a high mortality rate. The immunological effect of LPS with spleen and thymus is well documented; however the impact on membrane phospholipid during endotoxemia has not yet been studied. Hence we aimed to investigate the influence of LPS on spleen and thymus phospholipid and fatty acid composition by [32P]orthophosphate labeling in rats. The in vitro labeling was carried out with phosphate-free medium (saline). Time course, LPS concentration-dependent, pre- and post-labeling with LPS and fatty acid analysis of phospholipid were performed. Labeling studies showed that 50 µg LPS specifically altered the major phospholipids, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylglycerol in spleen and phosphatidylcholine in thymus. Fatty acid analysis showed a marked alteration of unsaturated fatty acids/saturated fatty acids in spleen and thymus leading to immune impairment via the fatty acid remodeling pathway. Our present in vitro lipid metabolic labeling study could open up new vistas for exploring LPS-induced immune impairment in spleen and thymus, as well as the underlying mechanism. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.