Kensey R. Amaya, Eric B. Monroe, Jonathan V. Sweedler and David F. Clayton
Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 2007, 260, pp. 121-127

Lipids have diverse functions in the nervous system, but the study of their anatomical distributions in the intact brain is rather difficult using conventional methodologies. Here we demonstrate the application of high resolution time-of-flight (ToF) secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to image various lipid components and cholesterol across an entire brain section prepared from an adult zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), with a spatial resolution of 2.3 μm, resulting in the formation of 11.5 megapixel chemical images. The zebra finch is a songbird in which specific neural and developmental functions have been ascribed to discrete “song control nuclei” of the forebrain. We have observed a relative increase of palmitic acid C16:0 and oleic acid C18:1 in song control nuclei versus the surrounding tissue, while phosphate (PO3), representative of phospholipids, was lower in these regions. Cholesterol was present at a high level only in the white matter of the optic tectum. More diffuse distributions were observed for stearic, arachidonic, linolenic, and palmitoleic acids. The presented results illustrate that SIMS imaging is a useful approach for assessing changes in lipid content during song circuit development and song learning.



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