Distinctive glycerophospholipid profiles of human seminoma and adjacent normal tissues by desorption electrospray ionization imaging mass spectrometry

Timothy A. Masterson, Allison L. Dill, Livia S. Eberlin, Monica Mattarozzi, Liang Cheng, Stephen D.W. Beck, Federica Bianchi, R. Graham Cooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) has been successfully used to discriminate between normal and cancerous human tissue from different anatomical sites. On the basis of this, DESI-MS imaging was used to characterize human seminoma and adjacent normal tissue. Seminoma and adjacent normal paired human tissue sections (40 tissues) from 15 patients undergoing radical orchiectomy were flash frozen in liquid nitrogen and sectioned to 15 μm thickness and thaw mounted to glass slides. The entire sample was two-dimensionally analyzed by the charged solvent spray to form a molecular image of the biological tissue. DESI-MS images were compared with formalin-fixed, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained slides of the same material. Increased signal intensity was detected for two seminolipids [seminolipid (16:0/16:0) and seminolipid (30:0)] in the normal tubule testis tissue; these compounds were undetectable in seminoma tissue, as well as from the surrounding fat, muscle, and blood vessels. A glycerophosphoinositol [PI(18:0/20:4)] was also found at increased intensity in the normal testes tubule tissue when compared with seminoma tissue. Ascorbic acid (i.e., vitamin C) was found at increased amounts in seminoma tissue when compared with normal tissue. DESI-MS analysis was successfully used to visualize the location of several types of molecules across human seminoma and normal tissues. Discrimination between seminoma and adjacent normal testes tubules was achieved on the basis of the spatial distributions and varying intensities of particular lipid species as well as ascorbic acid. The increased presence of ascorbic acid within seminoma compared with normal seminiferous tubules was previously unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1333
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011



  • Diagnosis
  • Germ cell tumor
  • Imaging
  • Lipids
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Seminoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy

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