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Metabolism models may explain why Alzheimer's disease kills some neuron types first
Date:12/6/2010

ent and metabolic interactions between specific cell types.

The models for each cell can be represented like a circuit, with certain inputs and outputs. For example, sugars, like glucose, are inputs, and the models detail how these inputs are used to build cell parts and secrete byproducts as outputs. The metabolic models the bioengineers built provide a means to study these networks.

For example, each cell type has different biochemical pathways that can take the sugars from point A to B. If you knock out a gene in between, the network might find a different route, produce different products, or predict cell death. When models for multiple cells are combined, additional insight can be gained since the inputs and outputs of each model begin to affect the other cells.

"There are many potential applications for these models. For example, this modeling approach could be useful for predicting off target side effects of drugs. You could theoretically take a cell line, throw a drug at it and see which metabolic pathways are significantly affected. Thus, you could decrease the amount of resources spent on drug development if the model suggests negative side effects that may cause it to fail," said Lewis.


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Contact: Daniel Kane
dbkane@ucsd.edu
858-534-3262
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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