Dual Internal Standards with Metals and Molecules for MALDI Imaging of Kidney Lipids

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The quest for internal standards useful in MALDI imaging studies goes on to get not only lateral distribution but also reliable relative quantitative information. We developed a method based on application of matrix and dual internal standards to allow intra- and intersample normalization of lipids intensities in kidney sections of control and cisplatin-treated Wistar rats. An inkjet printer was used to deposit a custom-prepared ink with DHB as MALDI matrix, a primary lipids-based internal standard, and a spiked lanthanide as a secondary internal standard. We applied different laser energy and varied the amounts of matrix-internal standards mixture to evaluate the normalization potential of the internal standards. Successful correction of intensity artifacts caused by instrumental drifts was possible, but not those resulting from uneven matrix application. ICP-MS absolute quantification of the lanthanide in the printed layer ensured the reproducibility of the matrix and internal standards application with RSD of 10−15%. Internal standard-normalized data allowed intrasample modification of the MALDI image to make it compatible with the optical image. Normalization to internal standards corrected a 2-fold difference in lipids intensity, which allowed a meaningful comparison of tissue lipids in control and cisplatin-treated kidneys. More importantly, normalization of lipid relative abundances based on the same adduct type (H+ , Na+ , and K+ ) for analyte and internal standard corrected for different ionization efficiencies showing a realistic signal level and enabling reliable comparison of different samples on relative quantitative basis.