Spatial Localization of β-unsaturated aldehyde markers in murine diabetic kidney tissue by Mass Spectrometry Imaging

Carla Harkin, Karl Smith, Logan MacKay, Tara C. B. Moore, Simon Brockbank, Mark Ruddock, Diego Cobice

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease. Limitations in current diagnosis and screening methods have sparked a search for more specific and conclusive biomarkers. Hyperglycemic conditions generate a plethora of harmful molecules in circulation and within tissues. Oxidative stress generates reactive α-dicarbonyls and β-unsaturated hydroxyhexenals, which react with proteins to form advanced glycation end products. Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) enables the detection and spatial localization of molecules in biological tissue sections. Here, for the first time, the localization and semiquantitative analysis of "reactive aldehydes" (RAs) 4-hydroxyhexenal (4-HHE), 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), and 4-oxo-2-nonenal (4-ONE) in the kidney tissues of a diabetic mouse model is presented. Ionization efficiency was enhanced through on-tissue chemical derivatization (OTCD) using Girard's reagent T (GT), forming positively charged hydrazone derivatives. MSI analysis was performed using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) coupled with Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR). RA levels were elevated in diabetic kidney tissues compared to lean controls and localized throughout the kidney sections at a spatial resolution of 100 µm. This was confirmed by liquid extraction surface analysis-MSI (LESA-MSI) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). This method identified β-unsaturated aldehydes as "potential" biomarkers of DN and demonstrated the capability of OTCD-MSI for detection and localization of poorly ionizable molecules by adapting existing chemical derivatization methods. Untargeted exploratory distribution analysis of some precursor lipids was also assessed using MALDI-FT-ICR-MSI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6657-6670
Number of pages14
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
Early online date26 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 26 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Randox – Ulster University Industrial Ph.D. Academy.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Reactive aldehydes
  • Mass spectrometry imaging
  • On-tissue chemical derivatization
  • Matrix-assisted laster desorption ionization
  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization


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