The detection of glycosphingolipids in brain tissue sections by imaging mass spectrometry using gold nanoparticles
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Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are amphiphilic molecules consisting of a hydrophilic carbohydrate chain and a hydrophobic ceramide moiety. They appear to be involved primarily in biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and signaling. To investigate the mechanism of brain function in more detail, a more highly sensitive method that would reveal the GSL distribution in the brain is required. In this report, we describe a simple and efficient method for mapping the distribution and localization of GSLs present in mouse brain sections using nanoparticle-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (IMS). We have developed and tested gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as a new matrix to maximize the detection of GSLs. A matrix of AuNPs modified with alkylamine was used to detect various GSLs, such as minor molecular species of sulfatides and gangliosides, in mouse brain sections; these GSLs were hardly detected using 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB), which is the conventional matrix for GSLs. We achieved approximately 20 times more sensitive detection of GSLs using AuNPs compared to a DHB matrix. We believe that our new approach using AuNPs in IMS could lead to a new strategy for analyzing basic biological mechanisms and several diseases through the distribution of minor GSLs.
KeywordsImage Mass Spectrometric MALDI Mass Spectrometry Brain Tissue Section Image Mass Spectrometric Conventional Matrix
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