Applications of nanospray desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry In situ lipid and metabolite analysis from cells to tissue

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Ambient mass spectrometry (MS) has proved to be an important addition to the bioanalytical toolbox. These methods perform analyte sampling and ionization under atmospheric pressure, and require very little sample preparation other than the sampling process in front of the machine. Nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (nano-DESI) is an ambient MS technique developed in 2010 that utilizes localized liquid extraction for surface sampling. The aim of this thesis was to explore the possibilities of this technique, and identify areas in which nano-DESI MS could further contribute to the community of MS-based surface analysis.One such area was found to be mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) of small-molecule neurotransmitters. By the use of deuterated standards of acetylcholine, γ-aminobutyric acid and glutamate, the respective endogenous compounds were successfully imaged in coronal sections of rat brain. The use of internal standards was shown to be essential to compensatee for matrix effects in different regions of the brain. In a second imaging study, nano-DESI MSI was used to compare the chemical profiles of diabetic rat kidney tissue and control. Analysis was performed on kidney two weeks after diabetic onset, before any pathohistological changes relating to diabetic nephropathy can be seen in a microscope. In our study, it was shown that a large number of chemical species related to energy metabolism were detected with altered signal intensity in diabetic kidney tissue.To push the limits of nano-DESI analysis, its use for single-cell analysis was evaluated. By placing buccal epithelial cells in contact with the nano-DESI probe, it was possible to identify 46 endogenous compounds and detect differences between cells from three human donors. In addition, it was shown that molecules from single cells on a surface could be detected by scanning the surface with the nano-DESI probe, which opens up for development of an automated analysis with higher throughput.The last study in this thesis was concerned with method development rather than application, as it presented a setup for pneumatically assisted nano-DESI. Evaluation showed that the setup provided improved sensitivity in the analysis of small metabolites, and provided the possibility of using pure water as nano-DESI solvent.