Issue 11, 2018

Multimodal imaging of undecalcified tissue sections by MALDI MS and μXRF


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometric imaging (MALDI MSI) is a technique that provides localized information on intact molecules in a sample. Micro X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) imaging allows the examination of the spatial distribution of elements in a sample without any morphological changes. These methods have already been applied separately to different tissues, organs, plants and bacterial films, but, to the best of our knowledge, they have yet to be coupled in a multimodal analysis. In this proof-of-principle study, we established and tested sample preparation strategies, allowing the multimodal analysis of lipids (sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholines) and elements relevant to bone structures as calcium, phosphorous and sulphur in the very same sample section of a chicken phalanx without tissue decalcification. The results of the investigation of such parameters as adhesive tapes supporting tissue sections, and the sequence of the imaging experiments are presented. We show specific lipid distributions in skin, cartilage, muscle, nail, and the intact morphology of bone by calcium and phosphorus imaging. A combination of molecular and elemental imaging was achieved, thus, providing now for the first time the possibility of gathering MALDI MSI and μXRF information from the very same sample without any washing steps omitting therefore the analytical artifacts that inevitably occur in approaches using consecutive tissue sections. The proposed combination can benefit in research studies regarding bone diseases, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cartilage failure, bone/tendon distinguishing, where elemental and lipid interaction play an essential role.

Graphical abstract: Multimodal imaging of undecalcified tissue sections by MALDI MS and μXRF

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
18 Feb 2018
10 Apr 2018
First published
16 Apr 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Analyst, 2018,143, 2587-2595

Multimodal imaging of undecalcified tissue sections by MALDI MS and μXRF

A. Svirkova, A. Turyanskaya, L. Perneczky, C. Streli and M. Marchetti-Deschmann, Analyst, 2018, 143, 2587 DOI: 10.1039/C8AN00313K

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