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Nat Methods. 2007 Oct;4(10):828-33.

MALDI imaging mass spectrometry: molecular snapshots of biochemical systems.

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Mass Spectrometry Research Center, 465 21st Avenue, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is emerging as a powerful tool for investigating the distribution of molecules within biological systems through the direct analysis of thin tissue sections. Unique among imaging methods, MALDI-IMS can determine the distribution of hundreds of unknown compounds in a single measurement. We discuss the current state of the art of MALDI-IMS along with some recent applications and technological developments that illustrate not only its current capabilities but also the future potential of the technique to provide a better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of biological processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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