From mouse to human: Comparative analysis between grey and white matter by synchrotron-fourier transformed infrared microspectroscopy

Paula Sanchez-Molina, Martin Kreuzer, Núria Benseny-Cases, Tony Valente, Beatriz Almolda, Berta González, Bernardo Castellano, Alex Perálvarez-Marín*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Fourier Transform Infrared microspectroscopy (µFTIR) is a very useful method to analyze the biochemical properties of biological samples in situ. Many diseases affecting the central nervous system (CNS) have been studied using this method, to elucidate alterations in lipid oxidation or protein aggregation, among others. In this work, we describe in detail the characteristics between grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) areas of the human brain by µFTIR, and we compare them with the mouse brain (strain C57BL/6), the most used animal model in neurological disorders. Our results show a clear different infrared profile between brain areas in the lipid region of both species. After applying a second derivative in the data, we established a 1.5 threshold value for the lipid/protein ratio to discriminate between GM and WM areas in non-pathological conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrated intrinsic differences of lipids and proteins by cerebral area. Lipids from GM present higher C=CH, C=O and CH3 functional groups compared to WM in humans and mice. Regarding proteins, GM present lower Amide II amounts and higher intramolecular β-sheet structure amounts with respect to WM in both species. However, the presence of intermolecular β-sheet structures, which is related to β-aggregation, was only observed in the GM of some human individuals. The present study defines the relevant biochemical properties of non-pathological human and mouse brains by µFTIR as a benchmark for future studies involving CNS pathological samples.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1099
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Central nervous system
  • Grey matter
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Lipid oxidation
  • Protein structure
  • White matter


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