Previous studies have shown that MALDI-imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) can be used to visualize the distribution of various biomolecules, especially lipids, in the cells and tissues. In this study, we report the cell-selective distribution of PUFA-containing glycerophospholipids (GPLs) in the mouse brain. We established a practical experimental procedure for the IMS of GPLs. We demonstrated that optimization of the composition of the matrix solution and spectrum normalization to the total ion current (TIC) is critical. Using our procedure, we simultaneously differentiated and visualized the localizations of specific molecular species of GPLs in mouse brain sections. The results showed that PUFA-containing phosphatidylcholines (PCs) were distributed in a cell-selective manner: arachidonic acid- and docosahexaenoic acid-containing PCs were seen in the hippocampal neurons and cerebellar Purkinje cells, respectively. Furthermore, these characteristic localizations of PUFA-PCs were formed during neuronal maturation. The phenomenon of brain cell-selective production of specific PUFA-GPLs will help elucidate the potential physiological functions of PUFAs in specific brain regions.
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