Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) has evolved into a valuable tool across many fields of chemistry, biology, and medicine. However, arguably its greatest disadvantage is the difficulty in acquiring quantitative data regarding the surface concentration of the analyte(s) of interest. These difficulties largely arise from the high dependence of the ion signal on the localized chemical and morphological environment and the difficulties associated with calibrating such signals. The development of quantitative MSI approaches would correspond to a giant leap forward for the field, particularly for the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields, and is thus a highly active area of current research. In this review, we outline the current progress being made in the development and application of quantitative MSI workflows with a focus on biomedical applications. Particular emphasis is placed on the various strategies used for both signal calibration and correcting for various ion suppression effects that are invariably present in any MSI study. In addition, the difficulties in validating quantitative-MSI data on a pixel-by-pixel basis are highlighted.

Cham: Springer
Anal. Bioanal. Chem.

Ellis, S., Bruinen, A. L., & Heeren, R. (2014). A critical evaluation of the current state-of-the-art in quantitative imaging mass spectrometry. Anal. Bioanal. Chem., 406(5), 1275–1289. doi:10.1007/s00216-013-7478-9