Small molecule analysis and imaging of fatty acids in the zebra finch song system using time-of-flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry

Kensey R. Amaya, Jonathan V Sweedler, David F. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fatty acids are central to brain metabolism and signaling, but their distributions within complex brain circuits have been difficult to study. Here we applied an emerging technique, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), to image specific fatty acids in a favorable model system for chemical analyses of brain circuits, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). The zebra finch, a songbird, produces complex learned vocalizations under the control of an interconnected set of discrete, dedicated brain nuclei 'song nuclei'. Using ToF-SIMS, the major song nuclei were visualized by virtue of differences in their content of essential and non-essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids (arachidonic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) showed distinctive distributions across the song nuclei, and the 18-carbon fatty acids stearate and oleate discriminated the different core and shell subregions of the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium. Principal component analysis of the spectral data set provided further evidence of chemical distinctions between the song nuclei. By analyzing the robust nucleus of the arcopallium at three different ages during juvenile song learning, we obtain the first direct evidence of changes in lipid content that correlate with progression of song learning. The results demonstrate the value of ToF-SIMS to study lipids in a favorable model system for probing the function of lipids in brain organization, development and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-511
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Volume118
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Fingerprint

Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
Finches
Equidae
Music
Secondary ion mass spectrometry
Brain
Fatty Acids
Imaging techniques
Molecules
Lipids
Stearates
Essential Fatty Acids
Learning
Docosahexaenoic Acids
Networks (circuits)
Chemical Models
Oleic Acid
Songbirds
Arachidonic Acid
Metabolism

Keywords

  • arachidonic acid
  • brain
  • docosahexaenoic acid
  • imaging
  • SIMS
  • songbird

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this

Small molecule analysis and imaging of fatty acids in the zebra finch song system using time-of-flight-secondary ion mass spectrometry. / Amaya, Kensey R.; Sweedler, Jonathan V; Clayton, David F.

In: Journal of Neurochemistry, Vol. 118, No. 4, 01.08.2011, p. 499-511.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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