Researchers develop a new technique to map the brain’s cholesterol metabolism.
Researchers have created new technology to track cholesterol levels in brain tissue, which they hope will reveal how these levels are related to neurodegenerative disorders and open the door to developing new treatments.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, demonstrates where cholesterol is found most frequently in the brain as well as the many chemicals it can be transformed into. The function of the brain is supported by cholesterol and its metabolites, making the brain a very complex organ. Numerous neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, and motor neuron disease, are associated with dysregulated cholesterol metabolism.
Although it is well known that cholesterol is not distributed equally throughout the various brain regions, there is currently no technology available to map cholesterol metabolism at microscopic scales in specific regions of the brain and to visualize how it changes in pathological niches in the brain.
USA, Washington the development of new treatments may be facilitated by the discovery of the relationship between cholesterol and neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers have created a new technology to monitor cholesterol in brain tissue.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, demonstrates where cholesterol is primarily found in the brain as well as the many chemicals it can be transformed into.
The function of the brain is supported by cholesterol and its metabolites. The brain is an astonishingly complex organ. Numerous neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, and motor neuron disease, are associated with dysregulated cholesterol metabolism. Although it is well known that cholesterol is not distributed equally across the different parts of the brain, there is currently no technology that allows us to map cholesterol metabolism at the microscopic level in specific brain regions and to see how it varies in pathological settings.
Researchers describe a cutting-edge mass spectrometry imaging technique here that allows tissue slices to identify spatial cholesterol metabolism in the mouse brain at millimeter precision. The physiologically active metabolites that result from cholesterol turnover were also mapped by the researchers in addition to cholesterol. For instance, they discovered that the striatum, which plays a different role in cognition and voluntary movement, had nearly ten times as much 24S-hydroxycholesterol as the cerebellum, the primary cholesterol metabolite in the brain. The team at Swansea University has been working on methods to reveal the various cholesterol metabolites in very small quantities in the brain, as small as the tip of a pen. This work has resulted in the new technology.
The method can be applied similarly to humans in a research laboratory or clinical context and could have revolutionary significance when linked to neurosurgery, said Professor William Griffiths, who co-led the study from Swansea University. The surgeon may swiftly determine the next stage in the procedure by profiling the tissue that was removed during surgery in the clinic using our approach to differentiate between healthy and sick tissue. “This technique that precisely localizes molecules in the brain will enhance our knowledge of the intricacy of brain function and how it alters in neurodegenerative illnesses,” continued Professor Yuqin Wang.
According to our findings, the striatum, which is the portion of the brain most severely impacted by Huntington’s disease, has very high cholesterol turnover. Using this approach, we will investigate the connection between this illness and cholesterol metabolism. This could result in the creation of fresh treatments for a condition for which there is presently no cure.