Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Metabolomics in Brain Research: What hundreds of biomolecules tell us about our nerve cells

18.05.2015

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.“

Weitere Informationen:

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

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>