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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Duluth
Medical School Duluth
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

PI: Lester R. Drewes

Microarray Analysis of Blood-Brain Transport and Metabolism; Mitochondrial Proteome Profiling and Diabetes

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that has long been used therapeutically to control epileptic seizures, but the protective mechanism is not known. The purpose of this study was to investigate the molecular basis for ketogenic diet-induced resistance to seizures at the gene expression level with the possibility of revealing important pharmacological targets for novel treatments of epilepsy. These researchers combined oligonucleotide microarray expression analysis with robust statistical analysis in order to define the molecular response of the brain to the efficacious anti-seizure therapy. They examined differences in gene expression profiles in the cerebral cortex of rats fed either a ketogenic or control diet. The identification of genes differentially expressed as a consequence of the ketogenic diet may provide insights into the biochemical adaptation in the brain that occurs with this anti-convulsant therapy and may reveal important pharmacological targets for novel treatments of epilepsy.

A second project examined the expression of mitochondrial proteins associated with human fibroblasts that are derived from type 1 diabetic and non-diabetic control patients and cultured under high-glucose conditions. The hypothesis is that there are quantitative changes in molecular markers that are predictors for the development of diabetes and its complications.

Group Members

Mary Sneve, Graduate Student
Justin Spanier, Undergraduate Student
Kevin Viken, Staff