Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 409, Issue 14, pp 3667–3676 | Cite as

Quantitative characterization of single cells by use of immunocytochemistry combined with multiplex LA-ICP-MS

  • Larissa Mueller
  • Antje J. Herrmann
  • Sandra Techritz
  • Ulrich Panne
  • Norbert Jakubowski
Research Paper


Actual research demonstrates that LA-ICP-MS is capable of being used as an imaging tool with cellular resolution. The aim of this investigation was the method development for LA-ICP-MS to extend the versatility to quantitative and multiplexing imaging of single eukaryotic cells. For visualization of individual cells selected, lanthanide-labeled antibodies were optimized for immuno-imaging of single cells with LA-ICP-MS. The molar content of the artificial introduced labels per cell was quantified using self-made nitrocellulose-coated slides for matrix-matched calibration and calculated amounts were in the range of 3.1 to 17.8 atmol per cell. Furthermore, the quantification strategy allows a conversion of 2D intensity profiles based on counts per second (cps) to quantitative 2D profiles representing the molar amount of the artificial introduced elemental probes per pixel for each individual cell.

Graphical abstract


Laser ablation Cell systems/single cell analysis ICP Immunoassays/ELISA 



We thank Dr. Heike Traub and Andreas Schulz from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) for the support at the LA-ICP-MS system. The project was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG (WA 3459/1-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2017_310_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (868 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 867 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa Mueller
    • 1
  • Antje J. Herrmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandra Techritz
    • 1
  • Ulrich Panne
    • 1
    • 2
  • Norbert Jakubowski
    • 1
  1. 1.Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institut für ChemieHumboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany

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