MALDI (matrix assisted laser desorption ionization) Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS) allows molecular analysis of biological materials making possible the identification and localization of molecules in tissues, and has been applied to address many questions on skin pathophysiology, as well as on studies about drug absorption and metabolism. Sample preparation for MALDI IMS is the most important part of the workflow, comprising specimen collection and preservation, tissue embedding, cryosectioning, washing, and matrix application. These steps must be carefully optimized for specific analytes of interest (lipids, proteins, drugs, etc.), representing a challenge for skin analysis. In this review, critical parameters for MALDI IMS sample preparation of skin samples will be described. In addition, specific applications of MALDI IMS of skin samples will be presented including wound healing, neoplasia, and infection.
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