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Mass Spectrom (Tokyo). 2012;1(1):A0004. doi: 10.5702/massspectrometry.A0004. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI) Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS): A Challenge for Reliable Quantitative Analyses.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Keio University.
Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Keio University ; JST, ERATO, Suematsu Gas Biology Project.


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is capable of determining the distribution of hundreds of molecules at once directly from tissue sections. Since tissues are analyzed intact without homogenization, spatial relationships of molecules are preserved. The technology is, therefore, undoubtedly powerful to investigate the molecular complexity of biological processes. However, several technical refinements are essential for full exploitation of MALDI-IMS to dictate dynamics alteration of biomolecules in situ; these include ways to collect tissues, target-specific tissue pretreatment, matrix choice for efficient ionization, and matrix deposition method to improve imaging resolution. Furthermore, for MALDI-IMS to reach its full potential, quantitative property in the IMS should be strengthened. We review the challenges and new approaches for optimal imaging of proteins, lipids and metabolites, highlighting a novel quantitative IMS of energy metabolites in the recent literature.


CE-MS; MALDI; imaging mass spectrometry; tissue-rinsing

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