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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2006;20(2):284-90.

Investigation of the profiling depth in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry.

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Schering-Plough Research Institute, Kenilworth, NJ 07033, USA.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry is generally considered to be a surface analysis technique. In this report, the profiling depth of imaging mass spectrometry was examined. MALDI matrix solution was found to be able to gain access to the tissue interior and extract analyte molecules to the tissue surface. As a consequence, prazosin, a small molecule pharmaceutical compound, located as deep as 40 microm away from the surface was readily detected after matrix application. Likewise, cytochrome c, a 12 kDa protein, was also detectable from the tissue interior. Moreover, for prazosin, not only the extent of matrix effect, but also the extraction efficiency of the matrix solvent appeared to be dependent on the type of tissue. These results indicated that experimental conditions that decrease the matrix solvent evaporation during matrix application may increase analyte extraction efficiency and hence sensitivity of the analysis. Furthermore, thin sections should be used to avoid differential extraction efficiency of matrix solvent in different tissues for whole-body analysis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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