Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
The use of MALDI MS as a fast and direct method to detect the Aβ oligomers of different masses is examined in this paper. Experimental results suggest that Aβ oligomers are ionized and detected as singly charged ions, and thus, the resulting mass spectrum directly reports the oligomer size distribution. Validation experiments were performed to verify the MS data against artifacts. Mass spectra collected from modified Aβ peptides with different propensities for aggregation were compared. Generally, the relative intensities of multimers were higher from samples where oligomerization was expected to be more favorable, and vice versa. MALDI MS was also able to detect the differences in oligomeric composition before and after the incubation/oligomerization step. Such differences in sample composition were also independently confirmed with an in vitro Aβ toxicity study on primary rat cortical neurons. An additional validation was accomplished through removal of oligomers from the sample using molecular weight cutoff filters; the resulting MS data correctly reflected the removal at the expected cutoff points. The results collectively validated the ability of MALDI MS to assess the monomeric/multimeric composition of Aβ samples.