Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) has been employed to rapidly screen longitudinally sectioned drug user hair samples for cocaine and its metabolites using continuous raster imaging. Optimization of the spatial resolution and raster speed were performed on intact cocaine contaminated hair samples. The optimized settings (100 × 150 μm at 0.24 mm/s) were subsequently used to examine longitudinally sectioned drug user hair samples. The MALDI-MS/MS images showed the distribution of the most abundant cocaine product ion at m/z 182. Using the optimized settings, multiple hair samples obtained from two users were analyzed in approximately 3 h: six times faster than the standard spot-to-spot acquisition method. Quantitation was achieved using longitudinally sectioned control hair samples sprayed with a cocaine dilution series. A multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) experiment was also performed using the ‘dynamic pixel’ imaging method to screen for cocaine and a range of its metabolites, in order to differentiate between contaminated hairs and drug users. Cocaine, benzoylecgonine, and cocaethylene were detectable, in agreement with analyses carried out using the standard LC-MS/MS method.

Cham: Springer
J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom.

Flinders, B., Beasley, E., Verlaan, R., Cuypers, E., Francese, S., Bassindale, T., … Heeren, R. (2017). Optimization of Sample Preparation and Instrumental Parameters for the Rapid Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in Hair samples by MALDI-MS/MS Imaging. J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 28(11), 2462–2468. doi:10.1007/s13361-017-1766-0