Complementarity of molecular and elemental mass spectrometric imaging of Gadovist in mouse tissues

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2019 Jan;411(3):629-637. doi: 10.1007/s00216-018-1477-9. Epub 2018 Nov 20.


Drug biodistribution analyses can be considered a key issue in pharmaceutical discovery and development. Here, mass spectrometric imaging can be employed as a powerful tool to investigate distributions of drug compounds in biologically and medically relevant tissue sections. Both matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-mass spectrometric imaging as molecular method and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometric imaging as elemental detection method were applied to determine drug distributions in tissue thin sections. Several mouse organs including the heart, kidney, liver, and brain were analyzed with regard to distribution of Gadovist, a gadolinium-based contrast agent already approved for clinical investigation. This work demonstrated the successful detection and localization of Gadovist in several organs. Furthermore, the results gave evidence that gadolinium-based contrast agents in general can be well analyzed by mass spectrometric imaging methods. In conclusion, the combined application of molecular and elemental mass spectrometry could complement each other and thus confirm analytical results or provide additional information.

Keywords: Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs); Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry imaging (LA-ICP-MSI); Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Gadolinium / blood
  • Gadolinium / pharmacokinetics*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lasers*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Organometallic Compounds / blood
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • gadobutrol
  • Gadolinium