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Molecular Mapping of Neutral Lipids Using Silicon Nanopost Arrays and TIMS Imaging Mass Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 26.08.2021, 15:33 by Jarod A. Fincher, Katerina V. Djambazova, Dustin R. Klein, Martin Dufresne, Lukasz G. Migas, Raf Van de Plas, Richard M. Caprioli, Jeffrey M. Spraggins
We demonstrate the utility of combining silicon nanopost arrays (NAPA) and trapped ion mobility imaging mass spectrometry (TIMS IMS) for high spatial resolution and specificity mapping of neutral lipid classes in tissue. Ionization of neutral lipid species such as triglycerides (TGs), cholestryl esters (CEs), and hexosylceramides (HexCers) from biological tissues has remained a challenge for imaging applications. NAPA, a matrix-free laser desorption ionization substrate, provides enhanced ionization efficiency for the above-mentioned neutral lipid species, providing complementary lipid coverage to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI). The combination of NAPA and TIMS IMS enables imaging of neutral lipid species at 20 μm spatial resolution while also increasing molecular coverage greater than 2-fold using gas-phase ion mobility separations. This is a significant improvement with respect to sensitivity, specificity, and spatial resolution compared to previously reported imaging studies using NAPA alone. Improved specificity for neutral lipid analysis using TIMS IMS was shown using rat kidney tissue to separate TGs, CEs, HexCers, and phospholipids into distinct ion mobility trendlines. Further, this technology allowed for the separation of isomeric species, including mobility resolved isomers of Cer­(d42:2) (m/z 686.585) with distinct spatial localizations measured in rat kidney tissue section.