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Lipid visualization using techniques based on fluorescent or confocal microscopy is possible. Unidimensional thin-layer chromatography of phospholipids on boric acid-impregnated plates.
In this sense, lipid analytical techniques have improved considerably in the last decades.
Surprisingly, to convince that an equivalent situation is happening with lipids species is not being an easy task. Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Google Scholar Fuchs, B., Suss, R., and Schiller, J. An update of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry in lipid research.
The description of some lipid microdomains, as lipid rafts, has introduced some order but, even so membrane lipids distribution within cell membranes is still perceived as a non-regulated event.
MSI would be the equivalent to immunochemistry or fluorescent microscopy techniques for the study of the spatial arrangement of molecules with the great advantage that no probes or labels are necessary (Stoeckli et al., 2001).
However, the beautiful images obtained by MSI bring to light the great deficiencies existing in the lipid field regarding the knowledge about the function that each individual lipid species may have and about the regulatory mechanisms controlling the specific distribution (Figure 1).