Spatial Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometry imaging is a label-free method that allows visualization and quantitative analysis of the distribution of targeted or untargeted chemical species directly in tissue sections. It utilizes advanced mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) instruments and ionization methods, i.e., matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) and desorption electrospray ionization (DESI). The speed, sensitivity, and molecular specificity of the mass spectrometers enable the direct and simultaneous imaging of hundreds to thousands of molecules (in each pixel). The Spatial Mass Spectrometry unit provides service for imaging of drugs, their metabolites and endogenous biomolecules such as metabolites, neurotransmitter systems, lipids, peptides, and small proteins directly in tissue sections at near-cellular lateral resolution.


We perform everything from project design, sample preparation and imaging of tissue sections to optimize the project results by using bioinformatic tools. All projects are unique and might require individual method developments to different extents. 
Proposed projects are assessed and prioritized according to the following model

Initial screen of project by facility
•    Technical feasibility and method developments (stop/go decision)
•    Capacity requested for the project (stop/go decision)
•    Pilot study (stop/go decision)

Project prioritization is based on
•    Scientific potential
•    Significance of facility specific technique for project
•    Supporting preliminary data from other techniques
•    Supports facility development (competence and techniques)
•    Feasibility of time lines


•    ADME
MSI enables simultaneous and label-free quantitative analysis of drugs and metabolites across multiple tissue types. 

•    Safety toxicology
MSI provides an option for tissue classification at the molecular level and could thus be very useful as an alternative or complement to histology for the diagnosis and characterization of toxicological findings.

•    Drug Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) Permeability
MSI visualizes and quantifies the brain distribution of drugs with varying blood-brain barrier permeability, determines the blood-brain barrier permeability and defines the drug distribution in very small brain structures.

•    Neuroscience
MSI provides a strategy for simultaneously imaging, identifying and quantitating the absolute concentrations of multiple neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter precursors and metabolites directly in brain tissue sections.

•    Oncology and Pathology
MSI has the ability to detect and characterize tumour cells and their environment in a spatial context and can be a complement to aid pathologists and clinicians.

Last modified: 2021-11-05