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Methods Mol Biol. 2010;656:285-301. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-746-4_17.

Direct molecular analysis of whole-body animal tissue sections by MALDI imaging mass spectrometry.

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Mass Spectrometry Research Center, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.


The determination of the localization of various compounds in a whole animal is valuable for many applications, including pharmaceutical absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) studies and biomarker discovery. Imaging mass spectrometry is a powerful tool for localizing compounds of biological interest with molecular specificity and relatively high resolution. Utilizing imaging mass spectrometry for whole-body animal sections offers considerable analytical advantages compared to traditional methods, such as whole-body autoradiography, but the experiment is not straightforward. This chapter addresses the advantages and unique challenges that the application of imaging mass spectrometry to whole-body animal sections entails, including discussions of sample preparation, matrix application, signal normalization, and image generation. Lipid and protein images obtained from whole-body tissue sections of mouse pups are presented along with detailed protocols for the experiments.

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