Atmospheric pressure imaging mass spectrometry is a rapidly expanding field that offers advantages in the ability to study biological systems in their native condition, simplified sample preparation, and high-throughput experiments. In laser ablation electrospray ionization (LAESI), the native water molecules in biological tissues facilitate sampling by a focused mid-infrared laser beam. The ionization of the ablated material is accomplished by electrospray postionization. In this work, we demonstrate that the imaging variant of LAESI simultaneously provides lateral distributions for small metabolites and lipids directly in rat brain sections. To cope with the fragile nature and potential dehydration of the brain tissue due to drying in the ambient environment as well as to minimize analyte redistribution, a Peltier cooling stage is integrated into the LAESI imaging system. We demonstrate the utility of high-resolution (m/δm > 6000) timeof-flight mass spectrometry with LAESI to deconvolute spatial distributions of different chemical species with identical nominal mass. To help with the evaluation of the massive data sets, Pearson colocalization maps are calculated for selected small metabolites and lipids. We show that this approach reveals biologically meaningful correlations between these two classes of biomolecules.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry