Johanna Sabine Becker, Andreas Matusch, Christoph Palm, Dagmar Salber, Kathryn A. Morton, Julia Susanne Becker
Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) has been developed and established as an emerging technique in the generation of quantitative images of metal distributions in thin tissue sections of brain samples (such as human, rat and mouse brain), with applications in research related to neurodegenerative disorders. A new analytical protocol is described which includes sample preparation by cryo-cutting of thin tissue sections and matrix-matched laboratory standards, mass spectrometric measurements, data acquisition, and quantitative analysis. Specific examples of the bioimaging of metal distributions in normal rodent brains are provided. Differences to the normal were assessed in a Parkinson’s disease and a stroke brain model. Furthermore, changes during normal aging were studied. Powerful analytical techniques are also required for the determination and characterization of metal-containing proteins within a large pool of proteins, e.g., after denaturing or non-denaturing electrophoretic separation of proteins in one-dimensional and two-dimensional gels. LA-ICP-MS can be employed to detect metalloproteins in protein bands or spots separated after gel electrophoresis. MALDI-MS can then be used to identify specific metal-containing proteins in these bands or spots. The combination of these techniques is described in the second section.