Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2013 Dec 15;27(23):2588-94. doi: 10.1002/rcm.6726.

Laser ablation based bioimaging with simultaneous elemental and molecular mass spectrometry: towards spatially resolved speciation analysis.

Author information

University of Münster, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Corrensstr. 28/30, 49149, Münster, Germany.



Biological functions of metals are not only specified by the element itself, but also by its chemical form and by its organ, cell and subcellular location. The developed laser ablation based setup enables spatially resolved analysis with simultaneous elemental and molecular mass spectrometry (MS) and promises therefore localization, identification and quantification of metal or heteroelement-containing species in biological samples such as tissue sections.


A UV laser ablation (LA) system is hyphenated in parallel both with an elemental and a molecular mass spectrometer via flow splitted transfer lines to simultaneously obtain data from both of the mass spectrometers. Elemental MS was performed using inductively coupled plasma (ICP)-MS, whereas atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI)-MS with an orbitrap mass analyzer was utilized for molecular MS.


Simultaneous elemental and molecular MS imaging with high lateral resolution down to 25 µm was presented for the staining agents eosin Y and haematoxylin as well as for the chemotherapy drug cisplatin in thin tissue sections. For molecular MS, target compounds were identified by their exact masses and by characteristic fragment ions.


The first simultaneous elemental and molecular MS imaging approach based on laser ablation sampling was introduced for spatially resolved speciation analysis. The combination of the advantages of LA-ICP-MS such as low detection limits and high spatial resolution with information on the chemical identity promises not only localization of metals, but also identification of metal species in biological samples. Therefore, this novel technique opens up new possibilities to address complex challenges in life science research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center