Hippocampal lipid differences in Alzheimer's disease: a human brain study using matrix‐assisted laser desorption/ionization‐imaging mass spectrometry
Gangliosides, a member of the glycosphingolipid family, are heterogeneously expressed in biological membranes and are particularly enriched within the central nervous system. Gangliosides consist of mono- or poly-sialylated oligosaccharide chains of variable lengths attached to a ceramide unit and are found to be intimately involved in brain disease development. The purpose of this study is to examine the spatial profile of ganglioside species using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging (IMS) following middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) reperfusion injury in the mouse. IMS is a powerful method to not only discriminate gangliosides by their oligosaccharide components, but also by their carbon length within their sphingosine base. Mice were subjected to a 30 min unilateral MCAO followed by long-term survival (up to 28 days of reperfusion). Brain sections were sprayed with the matrix 5-Chloro-2-mercaptobenzothiazole, scanned and analyzed for a series of ganglioside molecules using an Applied Biosystems 4800 MALDI TOF/TOF. Traditional histological and immunofluorescence techniques were performed to assess brain tissue damage and verification of the expression of gangliosides of interest. Results revealed a unique anatomical profile of GM1, GD1 and GT1b (d18:1, d20:1 as well as other members of the glycosphingolipid family). There was marked variability in the ratio of expression between ipsilateral and contralateral cortices for the various detected ganglioside species following MCAO-reperfusion injury. Most interestingly, MCAO resulted in the transient induction of both GM2 and GM3 signals within the ipsilateral hemisphere; at the border of the infarcted tissue. Taken together, the data suggest that brain region specific expression of gangliosides, particularly with respect to hydrocarbon length, may play a role in neuronal responses to injury.