J. Neurochem. 151 (4) 488-506 [2019-11-00; online 2018-11-06]
Recent advances in the understanding of basic pathological mechanisms in various neurological diseases depend directly on the development of novel bioanalytical technologies that allow sensitive and specific chemical imaging at high resolution in cells and tissues. Mass spectrometry-based molecular imaging (IMS) has gained increasing popularity in biomedical research for mapping the spatial distribution of molecular species in situ. The technology allows for comprehensive, untargeted delineation of in situ distribution profiles of metabolites, lipids, peptides and proteins. A major advantage of IMS over conventional histochemical techniques is its superior molecular specificity. Imaging mass spectrometry has therefore great potential for probing molecular regulations in CNS-derived tissues and cells for understanding neurodegenerative disease mechanism. The goal of this review is to familiarize the reader with the experimental workflow, instrumental developments and methodological challenges as well as to give a concise overview of the major advances and recent developments and applications of IMS-based protein and peptide profiling with particular focus on neurodegenerative diseases. This article is part of the Special Issue "Proteomics".