Probing the lipid chemistry of neurotoxininduced hippocampal lesions using multimodal imaging mass spectrometry

Jörg Hanrieder, Oskar Karlsson, Eva B. Brittebo, Per Malmberg, Andrew G. Ewing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The environmental toxin β-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) has been causatively linked to neurodegenerative disease pathology. In a rat model, neonatal BMAA resulted in selective uptake in the hippocampal formation and caused learning and memory impairments in adult animals.Moreover, high dose neonatal BMAA exposure resulted in formation of histopathological lesions in the CA1 region of the adult hippocampus; however, the mechanism underlying BMAA induced neuropathology remains elusive. Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) is a powerful method for spatial interrogation of biochemical distribution in biological tissue with high chemical specificity. The aim of this study was to therefore characterize the lipid microenvironment of BMAA-induced hippocampal lesions in adult rats using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) and time-of-flight SIMS (ToF-SIMS imaging). Multimodal imaging was carried out by ToF-SIMS scans of the hippocampal formation followed by whole tissue scans using MALDI imaging. Multivariate analysis was performed on the SIMS data in order to delineate the spatial biochemistry surrounding the lesions. The data show lesion-specific localization of phosphatidylcholine fragments, suggesting neuroinflammatory glial cell activation. Complementary MALDI imaging data showed increased levels of phosphoethanolamines colocalizing with the proteopathic lesions pointing to macroautophagic mechanisms associated with neurotoxin-induced protein accumulation. Multimodal IMS by means of ToF-SIMS and MALDI mass spectrometry proved to be a powerful technique for neurotoxicological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-378
Number of pages4
JournalSurface and Interface Analysis
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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