Direct molecular imaging of Lymnaea stagnalis nervous tissue at subcellular spatial resolution by mass spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2005 Feb 1;77(3):735-41. doi: 10.1021/ac048329g.


The imaging capabilities of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) and MALDI-MS sample preparation methods were combined. We used this method, named matrix-enhanced (ME) SIMS, for direct molecular imaging of nervous tissue at micrometer spatial resolution. Cryosections of the cerebral ganglia of the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis were placed on indium-tin-oxide (ITO)-coated conductive glass slides and covered with a thin layer of 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid by electrospray deposition. High-resolution molecular ion maps of cholesterol and the neuropeptide APGWamide were constructed. APGWamide was predominantly localized in the cluster of neurons that regulate male copulation behavior of Lymnaea. ME-SIMS imaging allows direct molecule-specific imaging from tissue sections without labeling and opens a complementary mass window (<2500 Da) to MALDI imaging mass spectrometry at an order of magnitude higher spatial resolution (<3 microm).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / chemistry
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / chemistry
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / metabolism
  • Lymnaea
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nerve Tissue / chemistry*
  • Nerve Tissue / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue / ultrastructure
  • Neuropeptides / analysis
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion / methods*
  • Subcellular Fractions / ultrastructure


  • Neuropeptides