Metabolic Perturbation Score-Based Mass Spectrometry Imaging: Illuminating the Spatial Dynamics of Functional Metabolism

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Metabolic Perturbation Score-Based Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MPS-MSI) offers spatially resolved insights into the functional metabolic response, facilitating a deeper understanding of disease progression and drug action, and paving the way for improved therapeutic strategies and targeted interventions.

In a recent study published in Analytical Chemistry, lead authors Zeper Abliz and Jiuming He and their team, demonstrated the potential of MPS–MSI as a molecular imaging tool (1). The technique allows for the exploration of therapeutic effects, adverse reactions, heterogeneous drug responses across different regions, and the identification of molecular targets.

Metabolic Perturbation Score-Based Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MPSºMSI) has emerged as a powerful technique for investigating the functional metabolic response associated with disease progression and drug action. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China, have pioneered this approach to gain spatially resolved insights into metabolism pathways, species, biofunction, biotransformation, and more. As a result, MPS–MSI proves to be a promising molecular imaging tool for early-stage drug research and development, facilitating efficacy and safety evaluation and enhancing our understanding of drug actions at a molecular level.

The MPS–MSI technique has revolutionized the field of functional metabolic analysis. By combining mass spectrometry imaging with metabolic perturbation scoring, researchers are now able to visualize and quantify the complex metabolic changes occurring within tissues or cells. This breakthrough method provides valuable spatial information about the metabolic response, shedding light on the underlying mechanisms of diseases and the effects of drug treatments.

MPS–MSI offers significant advantages over traditional analytical approaches by providing detailed spatial information on metabolic changes. It enables researchers to map out metabolism pathways, identify specific metabolites, and study their functions and transformations within tissues. This spatially resolved analysis helps researchers gain a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic response to diseases and treatments.


The application of MPS–MSI in early-stage drug research and development is particularly promising. It allows scientists to evaluate drug efficacy and safety, investigate molecular mechanisms, and identify potential drug targets. By visualizing the functional metabolic response, researchers can make informed decisions and optimize drug development strategies.

The study demonstrates the potential of MPS–MSI in advancing our understanding of functional metabolism. With its ability to provide spatially resolved insights into the metabolic response, this technique holds great promise for improving disease diagnosis, drug development, and personalized medicine.

As MPS–MSI continues to be developed, it has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of metabolic processes, disease mechanisms, and therapeutic interventions. By unraveling the intricate metabolic changes within tissues, this innovative approach opens up new possibilities for precision medicine and targeted therapies.


(1) Song, X.; Zang, Q; Zhang, J.; Gao, S.; Zheng, K.; Li, Y.; Abliz, Z.; He, J. Metabolic Perturbation Score-Based Mass Spectrometry Imaging Spatially Resolves a Functional Metabolic Response. Anal. Chem. 2023. DOI: