Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common neurogenetic disorder, in which affected individuals develop tumors of the nervous system. Children with NF1 are particularly prone to brain tumors (gliomas) involving the optic pathway that can result in impaired vision. Since tumor formation and expansion requires a cooperative tumor microenvironment, it is important to identify the cellular and acellular components associated with glioma development and growth. In this study, we used 3-D matrix assisted laser desorption ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI IMS) to measure the distributions of multiple molecular species throughout optic nerve tissue in mice with and without glioma, and to explore their spatial relationships within the 3-D volume of the optic nerve and chiasm. 3-D IMS studies often involve extensive workflows due to the high volume of sections required to generate high quality 3-D images. Herein, we present a workflow for 3-D data acquisition and volume reconstruction using mouse optic nerve tissue. The resulting 3-D IMS data yield both molecular similarities and differences between glioma-bearing and wild-type (WT) tissues, including protein distributions localizing to different anatomical subregions.
BIOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE - The current work addresses a number of challenges in 3-D MALDI IMS, driven by the small size of the mouse optic nerve and the need to maintain consistency across multiple 2-D IMS experiments. The 3-D IMS data yield both molecular similarities and differences between glioma-bearing and wild-type (WT) tissues, including protein distributions localizing to different anatomical subregions, which could then be targeted for identification and related back to the biology observed in gliomas of the optic nerve.
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