Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Vis Exp. 2012 Feb 14;(60). pii: 3445. doi: 10.3791/3445.

MALDI imaging mass spectrometry of neuropeptides in Parkinson's disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala University.


MALDI imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is a powerful approach that facilitates the spatial analysis of molecular species in biological tissue samples(2) (Fig.1). A 12 μm thin tissue section is covered with a MALDI matrix, which facilitates desorption and ionization of intact peptides and proteins that can be detected with a mass analyzer, typically using a MALDI TOF/TOF mass spectrometer. Generally hundreds of peaks can be assessed in a single rat brain tissue section. In contrast to commonly used imaging techniques, this approach does not require prior knowledge of the molecules of interest and allows for unsupervised and comprehensive analysis of multiple molecular species while maintaining high molecular specificity and sensitivity(2). Here we describe a MALDI IMS based approach for elucidating region-specific distribution profiles of neuropeptides in the rat brain of an animal model Parkinson's disease (PD). PD is a common neurodegenerative disease with a prevalence of 1% for people over 65 of age(3,4). The most common symptomatic treatment is based on dopamine replacement using L-DOPA(5). However this is accompanied by severe side effects including involuntary abnormal movements, termed L-DOPA-induced dyskinesias (LID)(1,3,6). One of the most prominent molecular change in LID is an upregulation of the opioid precursor prodynorphin mRNA(7). The dynorphin peptides modulate neurotransmission in brain areas that are essentially involved in movement control(7,8). However, to date the exact opioid peptides that originate from processing of the neuropeptide precursor have not been characterized. Therefore, we utilized MALDI IMS in an animal model of experimental Parkinson's disease and L-DOPA induced dyskinesia. MALDI imaging mass spectrometry proved to be particularly advantageous with respect to neuropeptide characterization, since commonly used antibody based approaches targets known peptide sequences and previously observed post-translational modifications. By contrast MALDI IMS can unravel novel peptide processing products and thus reveal new molecular mechanisms of neuropeptide modulation of neuronal transmission. While the absolute amount of neuropeptides cannot be determined by MALDI IMS, the relative abundance of peptide ions can be delineated from the mass spectra, giving insights about changing levels in health and disease. In the examples presented here, the peak intensities of dynorphin B, alpha-neoendorphin and substance P were found to be significantly increased in the dorsolateral, but not the dorsomedial, striatum of animals with severe dyskinesia involving facial, trunk and orolingual muscles (Fig. 5). Furthermore, MALDI IMS revealed a correlation between dyskinesia severity and levels of des-tyrosine alpha-neoendorphin, representing a previously unknown mechanism of functional inactivation of dynorphins in the striatum as the removal of N-terminal tyrosine reduces the dynorphin's opioid-receptor binding capacity(9). This is the first study on neuropeptide characterization in LID using MALDI IMS and the results highlight the potential of the technique for application in all fields of biomedical research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for MyJove Corporation Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center