MALDI-imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) has been shown to be a powerful tool to study drug distributions in organ tissue as well as whole animal bodies. Nevertheless, not all drugs are amenable to MALDI while others may be limited by poor sensitivity poor sensitivity. The use of chemical derivatization to improve detection of small molecules by mass spectrometry techniques is well documented. To our knowledge, however, this approach has not been applied to direct tissue analysis of small organic molecules. In this manuscript, we demonstrate the use of on-tissue chemical derivatization of a small organic molecule, 3-methoxysalicylamine (3-MoSA) a scavenger of γ-ketoaldehydes. Derivatization of 3-MoSA with 1,1'-thiocarbonyldiimidazole (TCDI) results in an oxothiazolidine derivative which is detected with much greater sensitivity by MALDI than 3-MoSA itself. TCDI treatment of tissue from mice dosed with 3-MoSA allowed images to be obtained showing its spatial distribution as well as its pharmacokinetic profile in different organs. These images correlated well with results obtained from HPLC-MS/MS analyses of the same tissues. These results provide proof-of-concept that on-tissue chemical derivatization can be used to improve detection of a small organic molecule by MALDI-IMS.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.