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Uncovering matrix effects on lipid analyses in MALDI imaging mass spectrometry experiments


Perry WJ , Patterson NH , Prentice BM , Neumann EK , Caprioli RM , Spraggins JM , . Journal of mass spectrometry : JMS. 2020 2 11; 55(4). e4491


The specific matrix used in matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI IMS) can have an effect on the molecules ionized from a tissue sample. The sensitivity for distinct classes of biomolecules can vary when employing different MALDI matrices. Here, we compare the intensities of various lipid subclasses measured by Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) IMS of murine liver tissue when using 9-aminoacridine (9AA), 5-chloro-2-mercaptobenzothiazole (CMBT), 1,5-diaminonaphthalene (DAN), 2,5-Dihydroxyacetophenone (DHA), and 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (DHB). Principal component analysis and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed significant matrix effects on the relative signal intensities observed for different lipid subclasses and adducts. Comparison of spectral profiles and quantitative assessment of the number and intensity of species from each lipid subclass showed that each matrix produces unique lipid signals. In positive ion mode, matrix application methods played a role in the MALDI analysis for different cationic species. Comparisons of different methods for the application of DHA showed a significant increase in the intensity of sodiated and potassiated analytes when using an aerosol sprayer. In negative ion mode, lipid profiles generated using DAN were significantly different than all other matrices tested. This difference was found to be driven by modification of phosphatidylcholines during ionization that enables them to be detected in negative ion mode. These modified phosphatidylcholines are isomeric with common phosphatidylethanolamines confounding MALDI IMS analysis when using DAN. These results show an experimental basis of MALDI analyses when analyzing lipids from tissue and allow for more informed selection of MALDI matrices when performing lipid IMS experiments.