Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 14, pp 3769–3781 | Cite as

Multigrid MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (mMALDI MSI)

  • Annett Urbanek
  • Stefan Hölzer
  • Katrin Knop
  • Ulrich S. Schubert
  • Ferdinand von Eggeling
Research Paper


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI MSI) is an important technique for the spatially resolved molecular analysis of tissue sections. The selection of matrices influences the resulting mass spectra to a high degree. For extensive and simultaneous analysis, the application of different matrices to one tissue sample is desirable. To date, only a single matrix could be applied to a tissue section per experiment. However, repetitive removal of the matrix makes this approach time-consuming and damaging to tissue samples. To overcome these drawbacks, we developed a multigrid MALDI MSI technique (mMALDI MSI) that relies on automated inkjet printing to place differing matrices onto predefined dot grids. We used a cooled printhead to prevent cavitation of low viscosity solvents in the printhead nozzle. Improved spatial resolution of the dot grids was achieved by using a triple-pulse procedure that reduced droplet volume. The matrices can either be applied directly to the thaw-mounted tissue sample or by precoating the slide followed by mounting of the tissue sample. During the MALDI imaging process, we were able to precisely target different matrix point grids with the laser to simultaneously produce distinct mass spectra. Unlike the standard method, the prespotting approach optimizes the spectra quality, avoids analyte delocalization, and enables subsequent hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining.

Graphical Abstract

Scheme of the pre-spotted multigrid MALDI MSI workflow


Mass spectrometry imaging Inkjet printing Simultaneous analysis Sub-pixel Multiplex Multigrid 

Supplementary material

216_2016_9465_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.7 mb)
ESM 1(PDF 1788 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annett Urbanek
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefan Hölzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katrin Knop
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ulrich S. Schubert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ferdinand von Eggeling
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Laboratory of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry (IOMC)Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  2. 2.Jena Center for Soft Matter (JCSM)Friedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Physical ChemistryFriedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  4. 4.ENT DepartmentJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  5. 5.Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT)JenaGermany

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