Services

The BARB Core provides a series of molecular assays that will measure selected markers of oxidant stress, mitochondrial bioanalytical services, and quantification of atherosclerotic lesions. The selected methods are carefully geared to the needs of the DRC investigators, which is handled through a two-way process involving both the investigator and the core. 
The following sections briefly describe these methodologies.

E.1 Atherosclerotic lesion quantification

A basic service for aortic atherosclerotic lesion formation is provided by the BARB Core. Both the methods for cross-sectional and en face analyses have been published previously. This enables the association between the core's molecular measurements and resulting vascular pathology in diabetes and cardiometabolic disease.

E.2 Core Technologies and Functions

Space limitations preclude a detailed methodological description of all the services that will be offered by the core. The director and co-directors cumulatively have expertise in all the offered core services of oxidant stress markers, mitochondrial bioanalytical services, and atherosclerotic lesion quantification, as documented in the published references. 

Interaction with Other Cores
The BARB Core interacts with other DRC cores as well as non-DRC cores at UAB. The interactions with other DRC cores are critical to providing seamless services when assistance is required from multiple cores around a single project. Specifically, the BARB Core interacts with the Animal Physiology DRC Core for tissue collection; the Human Biology Core (e.g., plasma biomarker assays correlating with mtDNA damage and haplotype analyses), and Metrics (epidemiology of disease risk factors, mtDNA damage and haplotype assessment). Important interactions with cores outside the DRC include the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Proteomics/Mass Spectrometry Facility (Dr. Stephen Barnes). The BARB Core provides a unique portfolio of services that does not duplicate any other UAB core facility.

Mitochondrial Bioanalytical Services

mtDNA Damage Analysis
 
Quantitative PCR assay for DNA damage

High Resolution Respirometry
 
Measure oxygen kinetics in tissues, cells, and isolated mitochondria with simultaneous multi-sensor applications including pH (as an indicator of glycolysis)

Mitochondrial Oxidative Phosphorylation Complex and other Mitochondrial Proteins' Activity Assays 
As a complementary approach to measuring altered total oxygen consumption using the oxygraph-2k respirometer, in either pathological or therapeutic samples compared to controls, individual OxPhos complexes can be measured using a spectrophotometer to ascertain possible specific mechanisms and altered individual complex activities contributing to those differences.

Mitochondrial Complex I (NADH-Ubiquinone oxidoreductase) Assay 
The principle of this assay is based on the consumption of NADH.

Mitochondrial Complex IV (Cytochrome c oxidase) Assay 
The principle of this assay is based on the oxidation of reduced cytochrome c that is followed at a spectrophotometric absorbance of 550nm.

Mitochondrial Citrate Synthase Assay

Bioenergetics' Analysis of Tissues, Mitochondria, and Cells 
Using a Seahorse XF instrument, we will be able to measure energy utilization in living cells.

Mitochondria Isolation and Preparation

Aortic Lesion Assessment

Aorta Lesion Assessment
Quantitative assessment of atherosclerotic plaque, Oil Red O stain ‘En face analysis': En face assessment of lesion size will be determined after staining the aorta with oil red O and photographing it

Oxidative stress (Redox) Measures
Elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels can lead to damage of DNA/RNA, proteins, and lipids that may lead to apoptosis. Cells have developed several mechanisms to counteract elevated ROS levels such as a thiol-reducing buffer composed of cellular thiol levels (glutathione and thioredoxion) for the maintenance of the reduction-oxidation (redox) state of the cell, and enzymes to remove ROS (catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase).

Glutathione and Ratios of Reduced (GSH) to Oxidized (GSSG)
 
Using a Tietze recycling spectrophotometric assay, we will be able to measure oxidized and reduced levels of glutathione.

Aconitase ActivitySuperoxide Dismutase (SOD2; mitochondrial MnSOD) Specific Activity (expression and activity 
SOD2 catalyzes the dismutation of superoxide into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide within the mitochondria.

Oxidation of Thiols (reduced thiol levels measured)

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