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Optimizing sample preparation for anatomical determination in the hippocampus of rodent brain by ToF-SIMS analysis

Journal article
Authors Tina B. Angerer
Amir Saeid Mohammadi
John S. Fletcher
Published in Biointerphases
Volume 11
Issue 2
Pages artikel nr 02A319
ISSN 1934-8630
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages artikel nr 02A319
Language en
Keywords Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry, Hippocampus, Sample preparation
Subject categories Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Lipidomics has been an expanding field since researchers began to recognize the signaling functions of lipids and their involvement in disease. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry is a valuable tool for studying the distribution of a wide range of lipids in multiple brain regions, but in order to make valuable scientific contributions, one has to be aware of the influence that sample treatment can have on the results. In this article, the authors discuss different sample treatment protocols for rodent brain sections focusing on signal from the hippocampus and surrounding areas. The authors compare frozen hydrated analysis to freeze drying, which is the standard in most research facilities, and reactive vapor exposure (trifluoroacetic acid and NH3). The results show that in order to preserve brain chemistry close to a native state, frozen hydrated analysis is the most suitable, but execution can be difficult. Freeze drying is prone to produce artifacts as cholesterol migrates to surface, masking other signals. This effect can be partially reversed by exposing freeze dried sections to reactive vapor. When analyzing brain sections in negative ion mode, exposing those sections to NH3 vapor can re-establish the diversity in lipid signal found in frozen hydrated analyzed sections. This is accomplished by removing cholesterol and uncovering sulfatide signals, allowing more anatomical regions to be visualized.

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