Atmospheric pressure mass spectrometric imaging of live hippocampal tissue slices with subcellular spatial resolution

Jae Young Kim, Eun Seok Seo, Hyunmin Kim, Ji Won Park, Dong Kwon Lim, Dae Won Moon

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40 Citations (Scopus)


We report a high spatial resolution mass spectrometry (MS) system that allows us to image live hippocampal tissue slices under open-air atmospheric pressure (AP) and ambient temperature conditions at the subcellular level. The method is based on an efficient desorption process by femtosecond (fs) laser assisted with nanoparticles and a subsequent ionization step by applying nonthermal plasma, termed AP nanoparticle and plasma assisted laser desorption ionization (AP-nanoPALDI) MS method. Combining the AP-nanoPALDI with microscopic sample scanning, MS imaging with spatial resolution of 2.9 μm was obtained. The observed AP-nanoPALDI MS imaging clearly revealed the differences of molecular composition between the apical and basal dendrite regions of a hippocampal tissue. In addition, the AP-nanoPALDI MS imaging showed the decrease of cholesterol in hippocampus by treating with methyl β-cyclodextrin, which exemplifies the potential of AP-nanoPALDI for live tissue imaging for various biomedical applications without any chemical pretreatment and/or labeling process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2113
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Y. Oh for his helpful discussions. This work was supported by two DGIST R&D Programs of the Ministry of Science, ICT&Future Planning (17-BD-06 and 17-01-HRMA-02) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2016R1A6A3A11930198).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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