Whilst many immunohistochemistry, autoradiography and spectroscopic methods are routinely used in dermatological research, the application of MALDI MSI is still relatively new. One of the key features of MALDI MSI that makes its use appealing is the ability to detect and study the distribution of multiple compounds simultaneously in a label-free manner.
Additionally by using tandem MS analysis, molecules can be identified directly on the tissue sections. In the initial proof of concept study which demonstrated MALDI MSI of biological tissue the technique was introduced for the MS analysis of large biomolecules. Since then however it has been applied to the analysis of a wide range of pharmaceutical compounds in situations ranging from whole animal sections to drug eluting stents.