Mass spectrometry imaging of pharmacological compounds in tissue sections

Richard J.A. Goodwin, Andrew R Pitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of MS imaging (MSI) to resolve the spatial and pharmacodynamic distributions of compounds in tissues is emerging as a powerful tool for pharmacological research. Unlike established imaging techniques, only limited a priori knowledge is required and no extensive manipulation (e.g., radiolabeling) of drugs is necessary prior to dosing. MS provides highly multiplexed detection, making it possible to identify compounds, their metabolites and other changes in biomolecular abundances directly off tissue sections in a single pass. This can be employed to obtain near cellular, or potentially subcellular, resolution images. Consideration of technical limitations that affect the process is required, from sample preparation through to analyte ionization and detection. The techniques have only recently been adapted for imaging and novel variations to the established MSI methodologies will further enhance the application of MSI for pharmacological research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-293
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


  • animals
  • histocytological preparation techniques
  • humans
  • mass spectrometry
  • molecular imaging
  • pharmaceutical preparations


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