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Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Imaging of Cimbi-36, a 5-HT2A Receptor Agonist, with Direct Comparison to Autoradiography and Positron Emission Tomography

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PURPOSE: The study demonstrates the use of Desorption Electrospray Ionization mass spectrometry imaging (DESI-MSI) for imaging of the PET tracer compound Cimbi-36 in brain tissue and compares imaging by DESI-MSI to imaging by autoradiography and PET.

PROCEDURES: Rats were dosed intraperitoneally with 3 mg/kg of Cimbi-36 and euthanized at t = 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 and 120 min post-injection. The brains were removed, frozen and sectioned, and sagittal sections were imaged by DESI-MSI in positive ion mode. Additionally, brain sections from a non-dosed animal were incubated with 14C-labelled Cimbi-36 and imaged by autoradiography. Finally, PET images were acquired from an animal dosed with 11C-labelled Cimbi-36.

RESULTS: DESI-MSI and autoradiography images of a sagittal brain sections showed similar distributions of Cimbi-36, with increased abundance in the frontal cortex and choroid plexus, regions which are high in 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors. The PET image also showed increased abundance in cortex, but the spatial resolution was clearly inferior to DESI-MSI and autoradiography. The DESI-MSI results showed increased abundance of Cimbi-36 in brain tissue until 15 min, after which the abundance was declining. The PET-tracer was still clearly detectable at t = 120 min. Similar imaging of the kidneys showed the abundance of Cimbi-36 peaking at 30 min. Cimbi-36 was quantified in a t = 15 min brain section by quantitative DESI-MSI, resulting in tissue concentrations of 19.8 μg/g in cortex, 15.4 μg/g in cerebellum and 12.5 μg/g in whole brain.

CONCLUSIONS: DESI imaging from an in vivo dosing experiment showed distribution of the PET tracer remarkably similar to what was obtained by autoradiography of an in vitro incubation experiment, indicating that the obtained results represent actual binding to certain receptors in the brain. DESI-MSI is suggested as a cost-effective screening tool, which does not rely on labelling of compounds.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)676-685
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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