Animal models can reproduce some model-specific aspects of human diseases, but some animal models translate poorly or fail to translate to the corresponding human disease. Here, we develop a strategy to systematically compare human and mouse tissues, and conduct a proof-of-concept experiment to identify molecular similarities and differences using patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and a bleomycin-induced fibrosis mouse model. Our novel approach employs high-throughput tissue microarrays (TMAs) of humans and mice, high-resolution matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-FT-ICR-MSI) to spatially resolve mass spectra at the level of specific metabolites, and hierarchical clustering and pathway enrichment analysis to identify functionally similar/different molecular patterns and pathways in pathological lesions of humans and mice. We identified a large number of common molecules (n=1366) and fewer exclusive molecules in humans (n=83) and mice (n=54). Among the common molecules, the 'ascorbate and aldarate metabolism' pathway had the highest similarity in human and mouse lesions. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that our novel strategy employing a reliable and easy-to-perform experimental design accurately identifies pathways and factors that can be directly compared between animal models and human diseases.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 16 October 2017; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2017.110.
- Aichler, M.; Kunzke, T.; Buck, A.; Sun, N.; Ackermann, M.; Jonigk, D.; Gaumann, A.; Walch, A.