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Anal Chem. 2019 Dec 3;91(23):14846-14853. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.9b03091. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Egg White as a Quality Control in Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MALDI-MSI).

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Future Industries Institute , The University of South Australia , Adelaide , South Australia 5095 , Australia.
Adelaide Proteomics Centre , The University of Adelaide , Adelaide , South Australia 5005 , Austrailia.
Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Adelaide Medical School, Robinson Research Institute , The University of Adelaide , Adelaide , South Australia 5000 , Australia.
Department of Gynaecological Oncology , Royal Adelaide Hospital , Adelaide , South Australia 5005 , Australia.


The strength of MALDI-MSI is to analyze and visualize spatial intensities of molecular features from an intact tissue. The distribution of the intensities can then be visualized within a single tissue section or compared in between sections, acquired consecutively. This method can be reliably used to reveal physiological structures and has the potential to identify molecular details, which correlate with biological outcomes. MALDI-MSI implementation in clinical laboratories requires the ability to ensure method quality and validation to meet diagnostic expectations. To be able to get consistent qualitative and quantitative results, standardized sample preparation and data acquisition are of highest priority. We have previously shown that the deposition of internal standards onto the tissue section during sample preparation can be used to improve the mass accuracy of monitored m/z features across the sample. Here, we present the use of external and internal controls for the quality check of sample preparation and data acquisition, which is particularly relevant when either many spectra are acquired during a single MALDI-MSI experiment or data from independent experiments are processed together. To monitor detector performance and sample preparation, we use egg white as an external control for peptide and N-glycan MALDI-MSI throughout the experiment. We have also identified endogenous peptides from cytoskeletal proteins, which can be reliably monitored in gynecological tissue samples. Lastly, we summarize our standard quality control workflow designed to produce reliable and comparable MALDI-MSI data from single sections and tissue microarrays (TMAs).

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