Advanced registration and analysis of MALDI imaging mass spectrometry measurements through autofluorescence microscopy

Nathan Heath Patterson, Michael Tuck, Raf Van De Plas, Richard M. Caprioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The correlation of imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) with histopathology can help relate novel molecular findings obtained through IMS to the well-characterized and validated histopathology knowledge base. The quality of correlation between these two modalities is limited by the quality of the spatial mapping that is obtained by registration of the two image types. In this work, we develop novel workflows for MALDI IMS-to-microscopy data registration and analysis using nondestructive IMS-compatible wide field autofluorescence (AF) microscopy combined with computational image registration. First, a substantially automated procedure for high-accuracy registration between IMS and microscopy data of the same section is described that explicitly links the MALDI laser ablation pattern imaged by microscopy to its corresponding IMS pixel. Subsequent examination of the registered data allows for high-confidence colocalization of image features between the two modalities, down to single-cell scales within tissue. Building on this IMS-microscopy spatial mapping, we furthermore demonstrate the automated spatial correlation between IMS measurements from serial sections. This AF-registration-driven inter-section analysis, using a combination of nonlinear AF-to-AF and IMS-to-AF image registrations, can be applied to tissue sections that are prepared and imaged with different sample preparations (e.g., lipids vs proteins) and/or that are measured using different spatial resolutions. Importantly, all registrations, whether within a single section or across serial sections, are entirely independent of the IMS intensity signal content and thus unbiased by it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12395-12403
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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