Mass spectrometry imaging enriches biomarker discovery approaches with Candidate mapping

Alison J. Scott, Jace W. Jones, Christie M. Orschell, Thomas J. Macvittie, Maureen A. Kane, Robert K. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: Integral to the characterization of radiation-induced tissue damage is the identification of unique biomarkers. Biomarker discovery is a challenging and complex endeavor requiring both sophisticated experimental design and accessible technology. The resources within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)-sponsored Consortium, Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological Threats (MCART), allow for leveraging robust animal models with novel molecular imaging techniques. One such imaging technique, MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), allows for the direct spatial visualization of lipids, proteins, small molecules, and drugs/drug metabolites - or biomarkers - in an unbiased manner. MALDI-MSI acquires mass spectra directly from an intact tissue slice in discrete locations across an x, y grid that are then rendered into a spatial distribution map composed of ion mass and intensity. The unique mass signals can be plotted to generate a spatial map of biomarkers that reflects pathology and molecular events. The crucial unanswered questions that can be addressed with MALDI-MSI include identification of biomarkers for radiation damage that reflect the response to radiation dose over time and the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Techniques in MALDI-MSI also enable integration of biomarker identification among diverse animal models. Analysis of early, sublethally irradiated tissue injury samples from diverse mouse tissues (lung and ileum) shows membrane phospholipid signatures correlated with histological features of these unique tissues. This paper will discuss the application of MALDI-MSI for use in a larger biomarker discovery pipeline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalHealth physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • bioassay
  • imaging
  • laboratory animals
  • radiation effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Epidemiology

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