Visualising Cholesterol With Mass Spectrometry

We all know that we should keep a healthy diet, especially maintaining low cholesterol, but do you actually understand why? Cholesterol is a lipid produced by the liver, but it can also enter the body through the food we eat, it is insoluble in blood so is transported on carriers called lipoproteins. Researchers have found two types of lipoproteins; high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) which carry cholesterol away from arteries and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) which contribute to hard deposits called plaques that can block arteries. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can cause hyperlipidemia which, if left untreated, increases the risk of developing blood clots which can lead to both heart attacks and strokes.

In order to further understand the role of cholesterol in the body, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Western Australia have developed a new method using high-resolution mass spectrometry to help visualise cholesterol. The technique uses nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) to study cholesterol stored in the plasma membrane. Within the plasma membrane, there are two types of cholesterol, “accessible cholesterol” which binds with cholesterol-binding proteins and “inaccessible cholesterol” that doesn’t bind these proteins and stay trapped within the plasma membrane.

To image this cholesterol using NanoSIMS, the scientists tagged the cholesterol-binding proteins with non-radioactive isotopes. These isotopes contain additional neutrons in their nucleus; this allows them to be imaged using mass spectrometers. As only the “accessible cholesterol” will bind to the cholesterol-binding proteins, mass spectrum analysis will demonstrate cholesterol activity within a cell. In the future, this high-resolution mass spectrometry technique will help with the understanding of the role of cholesterol in the body and how the body manages cholesterol levels.

Mass Spec Technology Solutions Ltd has years of experience providing mass spectrometry instruments and mass spectrometers. Based in Manchester, the team also offers a range of laboratory equipment including lab benches, nitrogen generators and noise reduction units. With continuous investment into the latest technology and services, Mass Spec is proud to deliver the best mass spec services.

In addition, Mass Spec offers fully refurbished, warranted and serviced mass spec instruments for your MS lab. At a fraction of the cost, our refurbished instruments are installed to maker’s specification with additional upgrades available.

For more information about any of our products or services, contact us here or call 0161 998 9219.

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Mass Spectrometry aids investigation into HIV

Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) belongs to the subgroup of retrovirus known as lentivirus, infection in humans results in the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndromes (AIDS). AIDS is an international pandemic, with reports suggesting an estimated 36.7 million people suffer from a form of HIV infection or AIDS. AIDS causes the gradual shutdown of the immune system, the infection targets cells of the human immune system including helper T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. A reduction in immune cells results in sufferers being unable to fight common diseases, often resulting in a reduced lifespan. Researchers continue to research the molecular biology of the virus in an effort to develop treatments and a possible vaccine against the virus.

HIV is known to be ‘shielded’ by a network of glycans, these sugar molecules block the virus from being detected by the immune system. Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute believe that further understanding of this glycan shield will allow an effective vaccine to be developed. Finding gaps within the shield will allow antibodies, created by the human body, to target the viruses and prevent the development of AIDS.

This new study utilises the analytical techniques of mass spectrometry to help understand the composition of the glycan barrier. Using enzymes, researchers were able to break the shield into peptides which could then be investigated with mass spectrometers. The study allowed glycans to be segmented into three groups; high-mannose glycans, complex-type glycans and sites with no glycans. This mass spectrum analysis project has been the first to identify glycan-free sites. However, results showed less of these sites than predicted.

Using the mass spectrometry instruments has sped up the investigatory process and will allow a higher number of anti-HIV vaccines to be tested in a shorter amount of time. Also, advancements in bioinformatics algorithms allow vaccine data to be compared and analysed at a faster rate. Having a speedier process will help combat the ever-evolving strains of HIV. Specific vaccines can then be developed which cause the body to produce antibodies to target non-glycan sites of HIV’s protective shield. If this project is successful in generating a fingerprint for HIV, it is expected to be used to fight other glycoprotein-shielded diseases such as influenza.

Mass Spec Technology Solutions Ltd is based in Manchester and has years of experience supplying mass spectrometers and mass spectrometry instruments. We will also service your mass spectrometry instrument and lab equipment and offer individual service plans that can te tailored to your requirements and budget.  This allows minimum downtime, maximum performance, throughput and return on investment for your mass spectrometer.

At a fraction of the cost, we offer fully warranted, refurbished and serviced mass spec instruments for your MS lab. These refurbished instruments are installed to maker’s specification with various upgrades also available.

Mass spec also develops and manufactures accessories for mass spectrometers including Nitrogen Generators, Noise Suppression and MS Lab Benches.

For more information about any of our products or services, please call 0161 998 9219.

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Save space and money with our Mass Spectrometry Lab Bench

Mass Spec Technology Solutions innovative NGenMS20 Lab Bench is a compact space saving solution for your mass spectrometry laboratory.  It comes with an intergral  N2 Generator, integral vacuum pump and noise suppression unit.

CMS based nitrogen generator and vacuum pump noise suppression unit enclosures save valuable lab floor space and solves noise background noise issues.

CMS N2 gas generation ensures minimal service requirement. The MS Engineering LB-N2 lab bench design features study construction, chemical resistant Trespa ™ work table and built-in safety protection providing a vibration free platform for all mass spectrometry applications.  The bench size can be configured to suit individual Mass Spec requirements.

All of the equipment is manufactured and assembled under the one roof by our experienced engineers in our premises in Manchester.  This yields excellent economies of scale for our customers using our Mass Spec lab benches.

Nitrogen Generator Bench

Reducing noise pollution in the laboratory

Just like most workplace settings, excessive noise in chemical and analytical laboratories can be a serious issue on several fronts. 

The maximum allowable noise levels in a workplace are defined by regulatory standards, therefore it is essential to try to reduce and maintain noise levels to an acceptable standard. This might entail anything from installing soundproof materials on walls and ceilings to selecting lab equipment specifically designed to generate less noise.

Several studies have shown that high noise levels and noise pollution can cause workers to feel overly stressed which can negatively affect their health, efficiency, and quality of work.

Mass Spec Technology Solutions Ltd can help you reduce the noise levels in your lab.  We have created an innovative range of noise reduction enclosures purpose built to quieten any rotary oil vacuum pumping units used in the lab, typically for mass spectrometry.  Our noise suppression units reduce the vacuum pumping level to less than normal conversation level.  They comply with European and US safety standards and the Control of Noise at Work Regulations.

We have recently added some new improved design features to our noise suppression units, typically a new improved appearance, robust aluminium construction and built in door providing access to inside the unit.

Other features include -

• Reduce rotary vacuum pump noise to less normal conversation level

• Single, double and triple pump configurations available

• Maintain recommended pump operating temperatures

• Built-in overheat protection

• Optional wireless remote fault indicator

• Pump drip tray option, castor mounted or flat to order.

• Simple assembly/disassembly construction for easy pump access

• Comply with European and US safety standards

To see how we can assist you to reduce the noise in your lab contact us today.

Noise Box

We can recycle your old Autospec!

Mass Spec Technology Solutions Ltd can de-commission your unwanted Autospecs all under one roof and at a fraction of the cost.   Spring has arrived and if you are spring cleaning your laboratory we can assist you to recycle your Autospec and can organise the de-commission at a lower cost for you.

Our service engineers provide total service support for mass spectrometry laboratories and mass spectrometry instruments.

For more information or to see how we can assist you and save time and money contact us today.


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