Johanna Sabine Becker, Andreas Matusch, Julia Susanne Becker, Bei Wu, Christoph Palm, Albert Johann Becker, Dagmar Salber
Mass spectrometric imaging (MSI) is a young innovative analytical technique and combines different fields of advanced mass spectrometry and biomedical research with the aim to provide maps of elements and molecules, complexes or fragments. Especially essential metals such as zinc, copper, iron and manganese play a functional role in signaling, metabolism and homeostasis of the cell. Due to the high degree of spatial organization of metals in biological systems their distribution analysis is of key interest in life sciences. We have developed analytical techniques termed BrainMet using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) imaging to measure the distribution of trace metals in biological tissues for biomedical research and feasibility studies—including bioaccumulation and bioavailability studies, ecological risk assessment and toxicity studies in humans and other organisms. The analytical BrainMet techniques provide quantitative images of metal distributions in brain tissue slices which can be combined with other imaging modalities such as photomicrography of native or processed tissue (histochemistry, immunostaining) and autoradiography or with in vivo techniques such as positron emission tomography or magnetic resonance tomography.
Prospective and instrumental developments will be discussed concerning the development of the metalloprotein microscopy using a laser microdissection (LMD) apparatus for specific sample introduction into an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (LMD-ICP-MS) or an application of the near field effect in LA-ICP-MS (NF-LA-ICP-MS). These nano-scale mass spectrometric techniques provide improved spatial resolution down to the single cell level.