Elemental Analysis in Biological Matrices Using ICP-MS

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1682:37-47. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7352-1_4.


The increasing exploration of metallic nanoparticles for use as cancer therapeutic agents necessitates a sensitive technique to track the clearance and distribution of the material once introduced into a living system. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) provides a sensitive and selective tool for tracking the distribution of metal components from these nanotherapeutics. This chapter presents a standardized method for processing biological matrices, ensuring complete homogenization of tissues, and outlines the preparation of appropriate standards and controls. The method described herein utilized gold nanoparticle-treated samples; however, the method can easily be applied to the analysis of other metals.

Keywords: Biodistribution; Biological matrices; Blood; Homogenization; ICP-MS; Nanoparticles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gold / analysis*
  • Gold / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / analysis*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Gold