Affiliations: Central Division of Analytical Chemistry, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany | Aeropharm GmbH, Rudolstadt, Germany
Note:  Corresponding author: J. Sabine Becker, Central Division of Analytical Chemistry, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany. Tel.: +49 2461 612698; Fax: +49 2461 612560; E-mail: [email protected]; URL: www.brainmet.com.
Abstract: Trace metals are essential in life science and play a major role in biological processes. Knowledge of spatial distribution of metals and metal-containing proteins is fundamental for understanding the pathophysiology of metalloproteins, the impact of metal metabolism and metal-containing deposits in healthy brains and brains of patients suffering from neurological diseases. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in studying metal imaging in biological and especially in clinical tissues. In most neurodegenerative diseases, abnormal metal deposition has been observed within the brain (e.g., in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Wilson diseases). Laser-induced mass spectrometry is a novel emerging analytical tool to generate two- and three-dimensional maps of the distribution of elements, isotopes and molecules in different systems. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is one of the most important inorganic mass spectrometric technique for solid materials and has been successfully applied to produce quantitative images of detailed regionally specific element distributions in thin soft tissue sections of biological and clinical samples. The spatial resolved “BrainMet” techniques (BrainMet – Bioimaging of Metals in Brain and Metallomics) developed at Research Centre Juelich have been created and established for metal distribution studies in thin biomedical cryosection and it can be employed for fundamental biomedical investigation of biochemical pathways up to single cell level and in future for disease diagnostics and neuroprotective therapies of neurological disorders.