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Metabolites 2014, 4(2), 319-346; doi:10.3390/metabo4020319
Review

MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Visualizing In Situ Metabolism of Endogenous Metabolites and Dietary Phytochemicals

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Received: 26 February 2014 / Revised: 17 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 9 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolomics and Biotechnology)
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Abstract

Understanding the spatial distribution of bioactive small molecules is indispensable for elucidating their biological or pharmaceutical roles. Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) enables determination of the distribution of ionizable molecules present in tissue sections of whole-body or single heterogeneous organ samples by direct ionization and detection. This emerging technique is now widely used for in situ label-free molecular imaging of endogenous or exogenous small molecules. MSI allows the simultaneous visualization of many types of molecules including a parent molecule and its metabolites. Thus, MSI has received much attention as a potential tool for pathological analysis, understanding pharmaceutical mechanisms, and biomarker discovery. On the other hand, several issues regarding the technical limitations of MSI are as of yet still unresolved. In this review, we describe the capabilities of the latest matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI)-MSI technology for visualizing in situ metabolism of endogenous metabolites or dietary phytochemicals (food factors), and also discuss the technical problems and new challenges, including MALDI matrix selection and metabolite identification, that need to be addressed for effective and widespread application of MSI in the diverse fields of biological, biomedical, and nutraceutical (food functionality) research.
Keywords: mass spectrometry imaging; small molecule; metabolite; phytochemical; food functionality; metabolomics; MALDI; metabolite identification; QSPR mass spectrometry imaging; small molecule; metabolite; phytochemical; food functionality; metabolomics; MALDI; metabolite identification; QSPR
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Fujimura, Y.; Miura, D. MALDI Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Visualizing In Situ Metabolism of Endogenous Metabolites and Dietary Phytochemicals. Metabolites 2014, 4, 319-346.

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