3 years ago

Using an NMR metabolomics approach to investigate the pathogenicity of amyloid-beta and alpha-synuclein

R. X. Grosman, E. Caamaño-Gutiérrez, J. Madine, M. M. Phelan, M. S. Gant



The pathogenicity at differing points along the aggregation pathway of many fibril-forming proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases is unclear. Understanding the effect of different aggregation states of these proteins on cellular processes is essential to enhance understanding of diseases and provide future options for diagnosis and therapeutic intervention.


To establish a robust method to probe the metabolic changes of neuronal cells and use it to monitor cellular response to challenge with three amyloidogenic proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases in different aggregation states.


Neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells were employed to design a robust routine system to perform a statistically rigorous NMR metabolomics study into cellular effects of sub-toxic levels of alpha-synuclein, amyloid-beta 40 and amyloid-beta 42 in monomeric, oligomeric and fibrillar conformations.


This investigation developed a rigorous model to monitor intracellular metabolic profiles of neuronal cells through combination of existing methods. This model revealed eight key metabolites that are altered when neuroblastoma cells are challenged with proteins in different aggregation states. Metabolic pathways associated with lipid metabolism, neurotransmission and adaptation to oxidative stress and inflammation are the predominant contributors to the cellular variance and intracellular metabolite levels. The observed metabolite changes for monomer and oligomer challenge may represent cellular effort to counteract the pathogenicity of the challenge, whereas fibrillar challenge is indicative of system shutdown. This implies that although markers of stress are more prevalent under oligomeric challenge the fibrillar response suggests a more toxic environment.


This approach is applicable to any cell type that can be cultured in a laboratory (primary or cell line) as a method of investigating how protein challenge affects signalling pathways, providing additional understanding as to the role of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative disease initiation and progression.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11306-017-1289-5

DOI: 10.1007/s11306-017-1289-5

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