Researchers at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), of the University of Luxembourg, have 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.
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.