Development of an Imaging Mass Spectrometry Technique for Visualizing Localized Cellular Signaling Mediators in Tissues

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    • Sugiura Yuki
    • Department of Biochemistry, Keio University School of Medicine|JST Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology (PRESTO) Project
    • Honda Kurara
    • Department of Biochemistry, Keio University School of Medicine
    • Suematsu Makoto
    • Department of Biochemistry, Keio University School of Medicine|Japan Science and Technology Agency, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) 
Suematsu Gas Biology Project


<i>In vivo</i> concentrations of cellular signaling mediators such as inflammatory mediators are normally maintained at very low levels due to their strong ability to induce a biological response. The production, diffusion, and decomposition of such mediators are spatio-temporally regulated. Therefore, in order to understand biochemical basis of disease progression and develop new therapeutic strategies, it is important to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of the signaling mediators <i>in vivo</i>, during the progression of disorders, <i>e.g.</i>, chronic inflammatory diseases; however, the lack of effective imaging technology has made it difficult to determine their localizations <i>in vivo</i>. Such characterization requires technical breakthroughs, including molecular imaging methods that are sensitive enough to detect low levels of metabolites in the heterogeneous tissue regions in diseased organs. We and other groups have attempted to fill this technical gap by developing highly sensitive imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) technologies. To date, we have established two key techniques toward this goal, including (i) a sample preparation procedure that has eliminated the problem of the postmortem degradation of labile metabolites, and (ii) on-tissue derivatization of metabolites, which can enhance analyte ionization efficiency. Here, we review recent progress in the development of these technologies as well as how the highly sensitive IMS technique has contributed to increasing understanding of the biochemical basis of disease mechanisms, discovery of new diagnostic markers, and development of new therapies.


  • Mass Spectrometry

    Mass Spectrometry 4(1), A0040-A0040, 2015

    The Mass Spectrometry Society of Japan


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