The Detection of Amyloid-Beta Neuroplaques Using Thioflavin T and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

  • Taylor Kohn

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


Secondary ion mass spectrometry excels at determining the spatialdistribution of lipids in tissue, and thus has been used as a tool to elucidate thepathophysiologic mechanisms/etiology of Alzheimer's disease. However, secondaryion mass spectrometry struggles to detect larger macromolecules such as thecharacteristic protein plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease. This project wasundertaken to determine a protocol that would identify Alzheimer's amyloid plaquesusing secondary ion mass spectrometry and then compare the plaque location to thelipid distribution within the diseased brain tissue. To accomplish this, samples werestained using Thioflavin T, a fluorescent molecule whose size is within theinstrument's range of detection and that specifically binds to amyloid plaques. Thesamples were then analysed with secondary ion mass spectrometry to detect thecharacteristic fragment of Thioflavin T. This method proved successful and allowedfor the comparison of amyloid plaque locations with the spatial distribution ofvarious lipid species.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Vickerman (Supervisor) & Nicholas Lockyer (Supervisor)


  • Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy

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