Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometric imaging is a technique that provides the ability to identify and characterize endogenous and exogenous compounds spatially within tissue with relatively little sample preparation. While it is a proven methodology for qualitative analysis, little has been reported for its utility in quantitative measurements. In the current work, inherent challenges in MALDI quantification are addressed. Signal response is monitored over successive analyses of a single tissue section to minimize error due to variability in the laser, matrix application, and sample inhomogeneity. Methods for the application of an internal standard to tissue sections are evaluated and used to quantify endogenous lipids in nerve tissue. A precision of 5% or less standard error was achieved, illustrating that MALDI imaging offers a reliable means of in situ quantification for microgram-sized samples and requires minimal sample preparation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.