Rabbit Lymph Node Tissue

Drug and metabolite distribution in tissue

MALDI Imaging is a technique that features visualization of drugs and metabolites in tissue. Unlike autoradiography, it can differentiate drugs and metabolites. This, combined with the microscopic information, opens an entirely a new level of histopharmacology.

Watch a video of how the molecular and histological information can be analyzed together.


The review article, Castellino et. al, Bioanalysis 2011, MALDI imaging mass spectrometry: bridging biology and chemistry in drug development, is illustrated through examples of real life DMPK work and shows how drugs and metabolites can be located even in small histological features such as small bile ducts and inflammatory lesions.



Clincial cancer research

Cancer tissue is often very heterogenous, with many different cell types being present in various ratios. MALDI Imaging is the omics technique that allows access to the complete spatial and histological information. It is therefore perfectly suited for clinical cancer research. For example, MALDI imaging has been used to find new protein biomarkers in cancer (Rauser et. al. J. Proteome Res. 2010), to link histone-modifications to microvascularization in hepatocellular carcinoma (Poté et al, Hepatology 2013), and to identify a mechanism for resistance to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in Barret’s carcinoma (Aichler et. al. J. Pathology 2013).

Learn more: Bruker App-Note FTMS-53+MT-115


Molecular tissue classification

Unsupervised and supervised methods allow the classification of tissue based on the molecular phenotype. Hierarchical clustering enables the interactive segmentation of MALDI Imaging datasets based on spectral similarity. This allows for an easy annotation of the data and concise insight where the same microscopic phenotype may be associated with different molecular phenotypes. Supervised classificators can be trained with known samples in order to classify unknown samples (see Groseclose et al, Journal of Proteome Research 2008 and La Faouder et. Al Journal of Proteome Research 2011).



Molecular histology

MALDI Imaging is compatible with conventional histological staining techniques. Usually the sample is stained by H&E after the imaging experiment, but many other stains have also been shown to be compatible. It is also possible to use "histology-directed" workflows, where a stained consecutive section is used to determine the areas to be measured on the sample.



Many endogenous metabolites and lipids can be imaged using MALDI. For many of these compounds, mass spectrometric imaging is the only way to investigate their spatial distribution. For example, metabolomic profiles can be linked to developmental or pathological processes in tissue sections.


Chemical crosstalk of microbial colonies

An interesting application of MALDI Imaging is the analysis of chemical crosstalk of microbial colonies. Microbial colonies start a complex molecular interaction if they come into close contact. Such interactions include signaling and fighting. For example, one colony may start to release antibiotics to inhibit the growth of the other colony.

Learn more: Bruker App-Note FTMS-48

"For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures!"