Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Lipids Using MALDI Coupled with Plasma-Based Post-Ionization on a Trapped Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometer

Publication Name

Analytical Chemistry


Here we report the development and optimization of a mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) platform that combines an atmospheric-pressure matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization platform with plasma postionization (AP-MALDI-PPI) and trapped ion mobility spectrometry (TIMS). We discuss optimal parameters for operating the source, characterize the behavior of a variety of lipid classes in positive- and negative-ion modes, and explore the capabilities for lipid imaging using murine brain tissue. The instrument generates high signal-to-noise for numerous lipid species, with mass spectra sharing many similarities to those obtained using laser postionization (MALDI-2). The system is especially well suited for detecting lipids such as phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), as well as numerous sphingolipid classes and glycerolipids. For the first time, the coupling of plasma-based postionization with ion mobility is presented, and we show the value of ion mobility for the resolution and identification of species within rich spectra that contain numerous isobaric/isomeric signals that are not resolved in the m/z dimension alone, including isomeric PE and demethylated phosphatidylcholine lipids produced by in-source fragmentation. The reported instrument provides a powerful and user-friendly approach for MSI of lipids.

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Australian Research Council



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