A method for quantitative imaging of trace elements in sections of bio-tissues using synchrotron radiation microbeam X-ray fluorescence (SR-μXRF) analysis was developed. The Compton scattering in the SR-μXRF spectrum was utilized as an internal standard to compensate the differences in thickness and density of thin bio-tissue sections. The ratios of element sensitivities to Compton scattering peak obtained from two matrix-matched standard reference materials were used for the calculation of the concentrations of metals in a brain section. The concentrations of Ca, Fe, Cu and Zn in the standard reference material (GBW 08551, pig liver) determined by this method were in good agreement with the certified values. The detection limits of Ca, Fe, Cu and Zn at 2 s detection were 1.15, 0.53, 0.21, and 0.20 μg g−1, respectively. The method has been successfully applied in accurate and precise imaging of the element variations in the brain section of a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
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