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See detailThe Mouse Brain Metabolome: Region-Specific Signatures and Response to Excitotoxic Neuronal Injury
Jäger, Christian UL; Glaab, Enrico UL; Michelucci, Alessandro UL et al

in American Journal of Pathology (2015), 185(6), 1699-1712

Neurodegeneration is a multistep process characterized by a multitude of molecular entities and their interactions. Systems' analyses, or omics approaches, have become an important tool in characterizing ... [more ▼]

Neurodegeneration is a multistep process characterized by a multitude of molecular entities and their interactions. Systems' analyses, or omics approaches, have become an important tool in characterizing this process. Although RNA and protein profiling made their entry into this field a couple of decades ago, metabolite profiling is a more recent addition. The metabolome represents a large part or all metabolites in a tissue, and gives a snapshot of its physiology. By using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, we analyzed the metabolic profile of brain regions of the mouse, and found that each region is characterized by its own metabolic signature. We then analyzed the metabolic profile of the mouse brain after excitotoxic injury, a mechanism of neurodegeneration implicated in numerous neurological diseases. More important, we validated our findings by measuring, histologically and molecularly, actual neurodegeneration and glial response. We found that a specific global metabolic signature, best revealed by machine learning algorithms, rather than individual metabolites, was the most robust correlate of neuronal injury and the accompanying gliosis, and this signature could serve as a global biomarker for neurodegeneration. We also observed that brain lesioning induced several metabolites with neuroprotective properties. Our results deepen the understanding of metabolic changes accompanying neurodegeneration in disease models, and could help rapidly evaluate these changes in preclinical drug studies. [less ▲]

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See detailShort-term akt activation in cardiac muscle cells improves contractile function in failing hearts
Shiojima, I.; Schiekofer, S.; Schneider, Jochen UL et al

in American Journal of Pathology (2012), 181(6), 1969-76

Akt is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is activated by a variety of growth factors or cytokines in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent manner. By using a conditional transgenic system in ... [more ▼]

Akt is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is activated by a variety of growth factors or cytokines in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent manner. By using a conditional transgenic system in which Akt signaling can be turned on or off in the adult heart, we previously showed that short-term Akt activation induces a physiological form of cardiac hypertrophy with enhanced coronary angiogenesis and maintained contractility. Here we tested the hypothesis that induction of physiological hypertrophy by short-term Akt activation might improve contractile function in failing hearts. When Akt signaling transiently was activated in murine hearts with impaired contractility, induced by pressure overload or doxorubicin treatment, contractile dysfunction was attenuated in both cases. Importantly, improvement of contractility was observed before the development of cardiac hypertrophy, indicating that Akt activation improves contractile function independently of its growth-promoting effects. To gain mechanistic insights into Akt-mediated positive inotropic effects, transcriptional profiles in the heart were determined in a pressure overload-induced heart failure model. Biological network analysis of differentially expressed transcripts revealed significant alterations in the expression of genes associated with cell death, and these alterations were reversed by short-term Akt activation. Thus, short-term Akt activation improves contractile function in failing hearts. This beneficial effect of Akt on contractility is hypertrophy-independent and may be mediated in part by inhibition of cell death associated with heart failure. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of methylthioadenosin phosphorylase (MTAP) expression in malignant melanoma
Behrmann, Iris UL; Wallner, S.; Komyod, W. et al

in American Journal of Pathology (2003), 163(2), 683-90

Homozygous deletions of human chromosomal region 9p21 occur frequently in malignant melanoma and are associated with the loss of the tumor suppressor genes p16(INK4a) and p15(INK4b). In the same ... [more ▼]

Homozygous deletions of human chromosomal region 9p21 occur frequently in malignant melanoma and are associated with the loss of the tumor suppressor genes p16(INK4a) and p15(INK4b). In the same chromosomal region the methylthioadenosine phosphorylase (MTAP) gene is localized and therefore may also serve as a tumor suppressor gene. The aim of this study was to analyze MTAP mutations and expression patterns in malignant melanomas. To examine the MTAP gene and expression of MTAP protein we screened 9 human melanoma cell lines and primary human melanocytes by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, sequencing, and immunoblotting. Analyzing the melanoma cell lines we found significant down-regulation of MTAP mRNA expression. In only one cell line, HTZ19d, this was due to homozygous deletion of exon 2 to 8 whereas in the other cell lines promoter hypermethylation was detected. MTAP expression was further analyzed in vivo by immunohistochemical staining of 38 tissue samples of benign melanocytic nevi, melanomas, and melanoma metastases. In summary, we demonstrate significant inverse correlation between MTAP protein expression and progression of melanocytic tumors as the amount of MTAP protein staining decreases from benign melanocytic nevi to metastatic melanomas. Our results suggest an important role of MTAP inactivation in the development of melanomas. This finding may be of great clinical significance because recently an association between MTAP activity and interferon sensitivity has been suggested. [less ▲]

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