Researchers at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), of the University of Luxembourg, have, under Dr. Manuel Buttini, successfully measured metabolic profiles, or the metabolomes, of different brain regions, and their findings could help better understand neurodegenerative diseases. The metabolome represents all or at least a large part of the metabolites in a given tissue, and thus, it gives a snapshot of its physiology.
„Our results, obtained in the mouse, are promising“, says Manuel Buttini: “They open up new opportunities to better understand neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, and could offer new ways to intervene therapeutically. In addition, with the help of metabolic profiles, such as those we have measured, the efficacy of novel therapeutic interventions could be tested more efficiently than with more common approaches.“
The researchers have just published their results in the „American Journal of Pathology“ (Am J Pathol 2015, 185: 1-14; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2015.02.016).
Neurodegenerative processes, such as those occurring in Parkinson’s disease, are characterized by pathological alterations of the brain cells: these cells lose their structure and function, a process that is accompanied by changes in their metabolism. Until now, most scientists have always focused on just one or a few aspects of the disease to better describe and understand the underlying mechanisms.
By analysing the whole metabolome however, LCSB researchers have realized a more global approach: they now can analyse hundreds of biomolecules, produced by nerve cells in upper, middle, and lower brain regions of the mouse. In the process, they not only look at healthy brains, but also at brains in which neurodegeneration occurs.
“To study the metabolite signatures of the brain, we used gas-chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. This approach is particularly suitable for the analysis of samples from complex tissues“, explains Dr. Christian Jäger, one of the three main authors of the study. With metabolic studies, an area in which the LCSB is one of the worldwide leading institutions, one can assess known and still unknown biomolecules in tissue samples.
After the measurements, LCSB-researchers have used a bioinformatical approach known as Machine Learning to specifically derive the metabolic profile of each brain region. These efforts were spearheaded by Dr. Enrico Glaab, the second main author of the study. “We found that a multitude of different molecules together reflect a specific functional state of nerve cells in each brain region.“ By comparing their observations with microscopic analysis of pathologic processes in nerve cells, the LCSB researchers could show which particular metabolic profile is associated with the degeneration of these cells.
“It was clearly the joined efforts of experts from quite different fields, an interdisciplinary approach that is encouraged at LCSB, that made this study possible. In this case, experts in Neurobiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Bioinformatics came together to enable the successful completion of the study“, says Dr. Alessandro Michelucci, the third main author of the study.
“Our observations are important, on the one hand, for paving the way for the discovery of novel therapeutic opportunities to combat neurodegeneration“, says Dr. Manuel Buttini, “and, on the other hand, for the development of new drugs to fight diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Indeed, by analysing metabolite profiles rather than just microscopic cellular changes or individual biomolecules, a better understanding of the effect of novel therapeutics for brain diseases should be feasible.“
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002944015001509 - Link to the scientic publication
http://www.lcsb.lu - Homepage of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine
Britta Schlüter | Universität Luxemburg - Université du Luxembourg
Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology