New approaches to understanding metabolic disease.
Mitochondrion Image: Louisa Howard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Metabolic complications, typically at the level of the mitochondria, have been implicated in the progression of numerous chronic disease states (sarcopenia, obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, Coronary heart disease, Cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer’s).
Recent advances in mitochondrial profiling approaches have identified that development of mitochondrial dysfunction, such as incomplete mitochondrial fat oxidation, impaired oxidative ATP production, and increased oxidative stress/damage are hallmarks of disease in numerous organs/tissues. Therefore, experimental approaches that allow the stringent screening of mitochondrial function at different stages of disease progression holds great therapeutic potential for the diagnosis, characterization and treatment of human disease.
Mitochondria generate the chemical energy that our cells need to do their jobs.
Supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Birmingham’s Dynamic Investment Fund (DIF), we have recently established the University of Birmingham’s Mitochondrial Profiling Centre (MPS) under the direction of Dr Andy Philp in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences.
The overall aim of the centre is to provide support for University of Birmingham researchers, national/international collaborators and industrial partners to perform basic and clinical mitochondrial research in the context of human disease.
What are the outcomes of this research?
The MPS provides a state-of-the art facility supporting mitochondrial research, from basic cell-based models through to clinical samples. Researchers at the University of Birmingham are currently using this technology to detail muscle; adipose and immune cell metabolic responses in a variety of clinical scenarios such as obesity, liver disease, atherosclerosis, sarcopenia, sepsis and trauma. Our hope is to develop nutritional and pharmaceutical approaches to treat and manage human metabolic disease.