Investigation of Early Death-Induced Changes in Rat Brain by Solid Phase Microextraction via Untargeted High Resolution Mass Spectrometry: In Vivo versus Postmortem Comparative Study

Lendor S., Olkowicz M., Boyaci E., Yu M., Diwan M., Hamani C., ...More

ACS CHEMICAL NEUROSCIENCE, vol.11, no.12, pp.1827-1840, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00270
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.1827-1840
  • Keywords: postmortem interval, in vivo sampling, high resolution mass spectrometry, untargeted metabolomics, solid phase microextraction, ACETYL-L-ASPARTATE, CHAIN AMINO-ACIDS, GLUTAMATE-DECARBOXYLASE, ENERGY-METABOLISM, TISSUE, METABOLOMICS, TOOL, IDENTIFICATION, MICRODIALYSIS, ABNORMALITIES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Analysis of brain samples obtained postmortem remains a standard approach in neuroscience, despite often being suboptimal for inferring roles of small molecules in the pathophysiology of brain diseases. Sample collection and preservation further hinders conclusive interpretation of biomarker analysis in autopsy samples. We investigate purely death-induced changes affecting rat hippocampus in the first hour of postmortem interval (PMI) by means of untargeted liquid chromatography- mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. The unique possibility of sampling the same brain area of each animal both in vivo and postmortem was enabled by employing solid phase microextraction (SPME) probes. Four millimeter probes coated with mixed mode extraction phase were used to sample awake, freely roaming animals, with 2 more sampling events performed after death. Significant changes in brain neurochemistry were found to occur as soon as 30 min after death, further progressing with increasing PMI, evidenced by relative changes in levels of metabolites and lipids. These included species from several distinct groups, which can be classified as engaged in energy metabolism-related processes, signal transduction, neurotransmission, or inflammatory response. Additionally, we perform thorough analysis of inter-individual variability in response to death, which provides insights into how this aspect can obscure conclusions drawn from an untargeted study at single metabolite and pathway level. The results suggest high demand for systematic studies examining the PMI time course with in vivo sampling as a starting point to eliminate artifacts in the form of neurochemical changes assumed to occur in vivo.