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Biolog’s Phenotype MicroArray Technology Unlocks Critical Clue in Understanding Autism
Date:6/5/2013

Biolog’s PM technology enabled this important discovery by accurately measuring the ability of cells to generate metabolic energy from a set of 367 biochemical nutrients. Dr. Boccuto in the Schwartz lab at Greenwood started the study by performing the PM metabolic scans on lymphoblastoid cell lines created from white cells taken from 17 patients with ASDs and compared the results against 18 patients without ASDs. He noted that cells from ASD patients had decreased metabolism of L-tryptophan and peptides containing L-tryptophan. Cells taken from patients without ASDs did not show this change. Subsequently, the study was broadened to include a total of 87 ASD samples with the predictive correlation remaining at 100 percent. As further support of this discovery, the authors measured the relative expression of genes involved in L-tryptophan metabolism pathways and found that some of these were also decreased in cells from 10 ASD patients.

About Phenotype MicroArray Technology

Phenotype MicroArray technology was developed initially for basic research in microbial cells with SBIR funding from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Subsequently, the technology was extended to work in human and other animal cells with funding from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Mental Health. The technology provides a metabolic and phenotypic scan of cells. Unlike metabolomic analysis that typically employs mass spectrometry to measure the pool levels of metabolites in cells, PM technology's phenomic analysis actually measures metabolic flux rates of various cellular pathways using a universal readout of cellular energy production. One important application is in cancer research, where PM technology can be used to study metabolic reprogramming (the Warburg effect) and the relationship between changes in oncogenes and changes in energy metabolism. A second application is in diabetes and obesity research, where shifts in e
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