Enzlein T, Cordes J, Munteanu B, Michno W, Serneels L, De Strooper B, Hanrieder J, Wolf I, Chávez-Gutiérrez L, Hopf C
Anal. Chem. 92 (21) 14484-14493 [2020-11-03; online 2020-10-14]
MALDI mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) enables label-free, spatially resolved analysis of a wide range of analytes in tissue sections. Quantitative analysis of MSI datasets is typically performed on single pixels or manually assigned regions of interest (ROIs). However, many sparse, small objects such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain deposits of amyloid peptides called plaques are neither single pixels nor ROIs. Here, we propose a new approach to facilitate the comparative computational evaluation of amyloid plaque-like objects by MSI: a fast PLAQUE PICKER tool that enables a statistical evaluation of heterogeneous amyloid peptide composition. Comparing two AD mouse models, APP NL-G-F and APP PS1, we identified distinct heterogeneous plaque populations in the NL-G-F model but only one class of plaques in the PS1 model. We propose quantitative metrics for the comparison of technical and biological MSI replicates. Furthermore, we reconstructed a high-accuracy 3D-model of amyloid plaques in a fully automated fashion, employing rigid and elastic MSI image registration using structured and plaque-unrelated reference ion images. Statistical single-plaque analysis in reconstructed 3D-MSI objects revealed the Aβ1-42Arc peptide to be located either in the core of larger plaques or in small plaques without colocalization of other Aβ isoforms. In 3D, a substantially larger number of small plaques were observed than that indicated by the 2D-MSI data, suggesting that quantitative analysis of molecularly diverse sparsely-distributed features may benefit from 3D-reconstruction. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD020824.