Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shipment tracking for 'fat parcels' in the body

15.10.2019

Researchers at the University of Bonn show that highly sensitive method can 'track' lipid metabolism

Without fat, nothing works in the body: These substances serve as energy suppliers and important building blocks - including for the envelopes of living cells. Numerous diseases are related to disorders in the fat metabolism, such as obesity or cancer.


That are full of fat droplets (orange). The cell nuclei are shown in blue.

Credit: © K. Piotrowitz/AG Thiele

Usage Restrictions: This image may be used together with the press release.


(from left) Klaus Wunderling, Philipp Leyendecker and Prof. Dr. Christoph Thiele at the LIMES-Institute at the University of Bonn.

Credit. © Photo: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn

Usage Restrictions: This photo may be used together with the press release.

Researchers from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn are now demonstrating how the fat metabolism can be monitored down to the individual liver cell of a mouse with the greatest sensitivity. This opens up several possibilities, such as minimizing the side effects of new drugs on the fat metabolism. The scientists now present their study in the journal "Nature Methods".

Many people think of the padding on their stomach or hips when they hear the term "body fat". "But no human being could survive without lipids, as these substances are called in chemistry," says Prof. Dr. Christoph Thiele from the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn.

Because fats are important energy stores. For instance, if the fat metabolism in cancer patients is disrupted, the result is dramatic weight loss. In addition, lipids often serve as building blocks for the envelopes of living cells, such as brain cells. This is why disorders can also lead to neurological diseases.

Scientists are therefore searching for methods that enable them to track the path from the uptake of fats through the metabolism in the body to excretion using a kind of "tracking" process - similar to a posted parcel that can be tracked on its way to its destination. Previously, researchers used radioactive substances, fluorescent dyes or heavy isotopes of hydrogen-2 (deuterium) to mark the "fat parcels".

"The problem with this is that the marked compounds cannot be fully distinguished from the unmarked ones," explains Thiele. This means that only a few marked main compounds can be traced and that quite large amounts of substance are required for this.

Decay reactions lead to strong signals during measurement

Together with his team colleagues Klaus Wunderling and Philipp Leyendecker, the biochemist has now shown how fats can be traced in the body of mice using a much more sensitive and effective method. They added fatty acids to the liver cells of the mice, which were marked with an additional triple bond, a so-called alkyne group. Subsequently, the metabolic products bound to special so-called reporter molecules.

In a further step, the compounds collided with gas molecules while their weight was being measured in the mass spectrometer, causing them to decompose into specific substances on which the markings finally became visible. "This decay reaction produces very strong signals for the marked lipids in the mass spectrometer," said Thiele.

This allows a clearer distinction between marked and unmarked lipids, and the measurements are about 1000 times more sensitive than with conventional methods. In addition, it is much faster: Results take minutes instead of hours.

"Around 100 different marked lipids can actually be traced down into individual liver cells," explains the biochemist. This makes it possible to examine both the normal metabolic pathway and pathological deviations in detail. The examination of mouse liver cells was an obvious choice for the researchers because the liver is the "main hub" for fat metabolism.

However, this method is not yet suitable for human nutrition experiments. "We still don't know exactly what the fatty acids coupled to alkyne groups do in the human body when they are ingested with food," says Thiele. Nevertheless, the researcher is convinced that this method could be used to investigate the side effects of drugs on fat metabolism and possibly reduce these considerably.

As consumption experiments on humans are currently not possible, the side effects could be tested on cell cultures or organoids. Thiele: "This makes it easy to see how the lipid metabolism is altered by the active substances."

###

Publication: Christoph Thiele, Klaus Wunderling, Philipp Leyendecker: Multiplexed and single cell tracing of lipid metabolism, Nature Methods, DOI: 10.1038/s41592-019-0593-6

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Christoph Thiele
University of Bonn
Life & Medical Sciences Institute (LIMES)
Tel. +49-228-7362818
E-mail: cthiele@uni-bonn.de

http://www.uni-bonn.de 

Dr. Christoph Thiele - Uni Bonn | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: alkyne fat metabolism fatty acids liver cells living cells mass spectrometer

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Something old, something new in the Ocean`s Blue
14.11.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht AI-driven single blood cell classification: New method to support physicians in leukemia diagnostics
13.11.2019 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New opportunities in additive manufacturing presented

Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden demonstrates manufacturing of copper components

The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Dresden has succeeded in using Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) to...

Im Focus: New Pitt research finds carbon nanotubes show a love/hate relationship with water

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are valuable for a wide variety of applications. Made of graphene sheets rolled into tubes 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, CNTs have an exceptional strength-to-mass ratio and excellent thermal and electrical properties. These features make them ideal for a range of applications, including supercapacitors, interconnects, adhesives, particle trapping and structural color.

New research reveals even more potential for CNTs: as a coating, they can both repel and hold water in place, a useful property for applications like printing,...

Im Focus: Magnets for the second dimension

If you've ever tried to put several really strong, small cube magnets right next to each other on a magnetic board, you'll know that you just can't do it. What happens is that the magnets always arrange themselves in a column sticking out vertically from the magnetic board. Moreover, it's almost impossible to join several rows of these magnets together to form a flat surface. That's because magnets are dipolar. Equal poles repel each other, with the north pole of one magnet always attaching itself to the south pole of another and vice versa. This explains why they form a column with all the magnets aligned the same way.

Now, scientists at ETH Zurich have managed to create magnetic building blocks in the shape of cubes that - for the first time ever - can be joined together to...

Im Focus: A new quantum data classification protocol brings us nearer to a future 'quantum internet'

The algorithm represents a first step in the automated learning of quantum information networks

Quantum-based communication and computation technologies promise unprecedented applications, such as unconditionally secure communications, ultra-precise...

Im Focus: Distorted Atoms

In two experiments performed at the free-electron laser FLASH in Hamburg a cooperation led by physicists from the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear physics (MPIK) demonstrated strongly-driven nonlinear interaction of ultrashort extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) laser pulses with atoms and ions. The powerful excitation of an electron pair in helium was found to compete with the ultrafast decay, which temporarily may even lead to population inversion. Resonant transitions in doubly charged neon ions were shifted in energy, and observed by XUV-XUV pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.

An international team led by physicists from the MPIK reports on new results for efficient two-electron excitations in helium driven by strong and ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

High entropy alloys for hot turbines and tireless metal-forming presses

05.11.2019 | Event News

Smart lasers open up new applications and are the “tool of choice” in digitalization

30.10.2019 | Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Theoretical tubulanes inspire ultrahard polymers

14.11.2019 | Materials Sciences

Can 'smart toilets' be the next health data wellspring?

14.11.2019 | Health and Medicine

New spin directions in pyrite an encouraging sign for future spintronics

14.11.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>