Correlative Chemical Imaging and Spatial Chemometrics Delineate Alzheimer Plaque Heterogeneity at High Spatial Resolution

JACS Au. 2023 Mar 7;3(3):762-774. doi: 10.1021/jacsau.2c00492. eCollection 2023 Mar 27.


We present a novel, correlative chemical imaging strategy based on multimodal matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), hyperspectral microscopy, and spatial chemometrics. Our workflow overcomes challenges associated with correlative MSI data acquisition and alignment by implementing 1 + 1-evolutionary image registration for precise geometric alignment of multimodal imaging data and their integration in a common, truly multimodal imaging data matrix with maintained MSI resolution (10 μm). This enabled multivariate statistical modeling of multimodal imaging data using a novel multiblock orthogonal component analysis approach to identify covariations of biochemical signatures between and within imaging modalities at MSI pixel resolution. We demonstrate the method's potential through its application toward delineating chemical traits of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. Here, trimodal MALDI MSI of transgenic AD mouse brain delineates beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaque-associated co-localization of lipids and Aβ peptides. Finally, we establish an improved image fusion approach for correlative MSI and functional fluorescence microscopy. This allowed for high spatial resolution (300 nm) prediction of correlative, multimodal MSI signatures toward distinct amyloid structures within single plaque features critically implicated in Aβ pathogenicity.