Multimodal Imaging Mass Spectrometry to Identify Markers of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Human Lung Tissue Using MALDI-ToF, ToF-SIMS, and Hybrid SIMS

Sebastiaan Van Nuffel, Marceau Quatredeniers, Alexander Pirkl, Julia Zakel, Jean-Pierre Le Caer, Nicolas Elie, Quentin P. Vanbellingen, Sebastien Joel Dumas, Morad Kamel Nakhleh, Maria-Rosa Ghigna, Elie Fadel, Marc Humbert, Pierre Chaurand, David Touboul, Sylvia Cohen-Kaminsky*, Alain Brunelle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare and deadly disease affecting roughly 15-60 people per million in Europe with a poorly understood pathology. There are currently no diagnostic tools for early detection nor does a curative treatment exist. The lipid composition of arteries in lung samples from human PAH and control patients were investigated using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) combined with time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) imaging. Using random forests as an IMS data analysis technique, it was possible to identify the ion at m/z 885.6 as a marker of PAH in human lung tissue. The m/z 885.6 ion intensity was shown to be significantly higher around diseased arteries and was confirmed to be a diacylglycerophosphoinositol PI(C18:0/C20:4) via MS/MS using a novel hybrid SIMS instrument. The discovery of a potential biomarker opens up new research avenues which may finally lead to a better understanding of the PAH pathology and highlights the vital role IMS can play in modern biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12079-12087
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


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