Neurones et synapses du cerveau d'un homme âgé.

This fluorescence device monitors lactate levels in the brain

By-product of energy metabolism, lactate is made by our body during intense exertion. Some studies have demonstrated the role of this molecule for the cancer detection or other metabolic diseases. An end product of anaerobic glycolysis, lactate has also allowed scientists to study energy metabolism of some patients. By monitoring their lactate levels, they were able to diagnose metabolic abnormalities.

Neurons and synapses in the brain of an elderly man.

It should be noted that the current assay methods only inform about the extracellular lactate levels. Indeed, they make it possible to know the quantity of lactate poured in bulk out of the cells without specifying the quantity actually produced per unit time. However, it is essential to be able to measure the real time changes lactate levels inside the cells.

In particular, it is even more difficult to determine lactate levels at inside nerve cellsbecause their levels are relatively low compared to those of other metabolites.

The Laconic made it possible to measure the level of lactate in the brain

Researchers from the SIPE (International Society of Optics and Photonics) then had the idea of ​​developing a lactate detection device called ” Laconic “. This tool will facilitate the detection of this metabolite inside brain cells. Equipped with a very sensitive lactate sensor, it works according to a complex chemical mechanism.

This high temporal resolution sensor contains in particular two fluorophoreswhich are separated by a molecule capable of reacting with lactate . These fluorophores called respectively “donor” and “acceptor” will emit fluorescent light when the sensor is irradiated with light. A mechanism called fluorescence resonance energy transfer during which the donor absorbs light energy and then transfers it to the acceptor.

Variations in the light signal provide information on changes in lactate levels

light intensity issuedby the Laconic depends not only on the energy level, but also on the distance separating the two fluorophores . As the lactate reacts with the separator molecule, the distance between the fluorophores is changed, which affects the intensity of the light emitted by the device.

Thus, it was possible to follow live changes in lactate levels inside nerve cells and to understand their metabolism by observing the variations in the intensity of the light signal emitted by the Laconic sensor. Associated with a functional MRI, this device has even made it possible tochart lactate levelsspecific to each brain cell, then made it possible to establish a relationship between lactate levels and the level of tissue vascularization.


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