Vibrational Microspectroscopic Studies of Biomedical Conditions Using Model Systems
Over the last century, despite enormous advancements in biomedical research and the development of sophisticated analytical instruments many diseases continue to be a burden on humankind particularly on the aged. This is because of a lack of complete understanding of the pathogenesis and specific therapies. Due to the complexity involved, we need to explore all facets of diagnosis and therapies. Therefore, there is a requirement for different strategies to combat these diseases. A quick diagnosis is the primary step towards improving treatment and increasing the chance of survival. To realize this goal we entail to monitor multiple biomarkers which will also help us to understand the progression of disease. Mid-Infrared (MIR) and Raman spectroscopic techniques are well established analytical methods to understand the molecular structure and chemical composition of heterogeneous systems. These techniques are rapid, non-destructive and offer multiple component analysis (global/multiplex) in a single measurement without any labels. Importantly, biological materials like proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids etc. have unique structures and therefore we can obtain unique spectral fingerprints of these molecules in different physiological and pathological conditions. This will provide a potential route to obtain diagnostic markers for diseases. Also, to improve the ability to diagnose and treat human diseases much more efficiently, understanding the mechanisms involved in the progression of disease is necessary. It would be time consuming and often unethical to perform these studies directly on humans. Therefore, there is a need for model organisms to explore the complexity of various diseases. A model organism is an animal, plant or microbe that is being studied to understand a range of biological phenomena. They should meet certain criteria such as short life cycles, easy to breed and maintain in large numbers under laboratory conditions, and the data generated through use of the model should be applicable to other higher organisms like humans. The microbial system, mouse, rat, Drosophila (fruitfly), C Elegans (nematode worm) and zebrafish are being used extensively for this purpose. The most adaptable organisms to study diseases in humans are the mice as they share almost 99% of their genes with humans. Mice are similar to humans in most physiological and pathological features such as nervous, cardiovascular, immune, liver etc. In addition to mice, Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly) has been used for years as an attractive model organism to understand the mechanisms of underlying human diseases. This is because 75% of human disease genes have counterparts in Drosophila and it meets the above mentioned criteria to be a model organism. It also plays an important role for studying genetics and development biology. The average life span of Drosophila is 60-80 days; therefore it is a suitable model to study age related diseases. In the present thesis, the ability to probe low-micrometer domains using Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy was utilized to monitor the chemical changes during various biomedical conditions using model systems. Chapter 1 of the thesis discusses about the origin of Raman and FTIR microspectroscopy along with instrumentation and applications. Various data analysis methods (both univariate & multivariate) and the validation criterion are described in chapter 2. Depending on the objective of the study and based on the technique (Raman or FTIR) used, one (or more) of these methods can be applied for effective interpretation of the data. Further, the thesis includes four different investigations; a) the FTIR spectroscopic study of hepatotoxicity due to acetaminophen using mice as model, b) the Raman spectroscopic studies of muscle-related disorders using Drosophila as a model, c) Vibrational spectroscopic study of septic shock using mice as model, d) Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) study of serum components using Lab-on-a-chip (LOC). The first part comprises mainly the FTIR microspectroscopy study of hepatotoxicity in mice post oral dosing of acetaminophen (paracetamol), which is extensively used worldwide as an analgesic and antipyretic drug (chapter 3). The infrared spectra of acetaminophen treated livers in BALB/c mice show a decrease in glycogen and an increase in amounts of cholesteryl esters and DNA. Importantly, analysis of sera identified the lowering of glycogen and increase in DNA and chlolesteryl esters earlier than the increase in alanine aminotransferase, which is routinely used to diagnose liver damage. Similar changes are also observed in C57BL/6 and Nos2−/− mice. Revert experiments using an antidote (L-methionine) demonstrate that depletion in glycogen and increase in DNA are abrogated with pre-treatment, but not post-treatment, with L-methionine. In the second study Raman spectroscopy is applied to discriminate between various muscle defects in Drosophila, since it can provide a unique molecular fingerprint of tissues on the basis of their biochemical composition (chapter 4). Raman spectra were collected from Indirect Flight Muscles (IFM) of mutants upheld1 (up1), heldup2 (hdp2), Myosin heavy chain7 (Mhc7), Actin88FKM88 (Act88FKM88), upheld101 (up101) and Canton-S (CS) for both 2 and 12-days old flies. The difference spectra (mutant minus CS) of all mutants have shown an increase in nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) content along with an increase in β-sheet and/or random coil content at the expense of α-helix. Interestingly, 12th day sample of up1 & Act88FKM88 exhibit significantly higher levels of glycogen and carotenoids than CS. A Principal Components based Linear Discriminant Analysis (PC-LDA) classification model was developed, which classifies the mutants according to their pathophysiology and yielded overall accuracy (OA) of 97% and 93% for 2 and 12-days old flies respectively. up1 & Act88FKM88 (nemaline myopathy phenotypes) form a group which is clearly separated in a Linear Discriminant (LD) Plane from up101 & hdp2 (cardiomyopathy phenotypes). In the third part we investigated septic shock, a life threatening condition associated with multiple organ dysfunctions, in mice (chapter 5). Salmonella typhimurium were given to BALB/c and 129/SvJ mice via the intraperitoneal route to induce infection. Liver, spleen and sera samples were studied using FTIR microspectroscopy. The infrared spectra of liver, spleen and serum samples in BALB/c (Nramp1-deficient) mice show significant spectral changes as early as 1 hour post infection but spleen shows changes only after 6 hour. Interestingly, 129/SvJ (Nramp1-sufficient) mice were resistant to sepsis and show significant spectral changes only at 12 hour post infection. This study demonstrates that suppression of Nramp-1, a renowned gene known to control susceptibility to infections by intracellular bacteria can be an effective cure for sepsis. The final study presented in this thesis demonstrates the use and benefits of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices in surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) which is used to enhance the weak Raman signals (chapter 6). Most of the diseases have related proteins or analytes present in serum although in early stages their concentration in blood are low. The idea is to detect at low concentration using SERS the serum components which are related to progression of disease. Here, we have compared the effect of different aggregating agents on silver colloids and the resulting enhancement in Raman signals for tryptophan and Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA). Reproducibility issues, the key concern of static phase SERS, can be overcome by performing SERS spectroscopic measurements in automated flow cells. Further, pyridine and tryptophan were used to demonstrate SERS in a segmented flow system. The spectra from different drops were compared and demonstrate the high reproducibility in comparision to static SERS. Lastly, chapter 7 summarizes the entire work of the present thesis with future prospects of Raman and FTIR microspectroscopy to study the progression mechanism of various diseases like neurodegenerative diseases which is easy to follow in drosophila due to their short life span. Also, technological developments in the field of nanotechnology and micro-fluidics will enable the detection of early biochemical changes in bodily fluids such as urine, cerebral spinal fluid, tears etc. Building on the results demonstrated in this thesis, hopefully label-free vibrational (Raman and FTIR) microspectroscopic studies using model organisms would help in understanding the underlying mechanisms of progression of various other diseases which in turn would facilitate the development of effective therapies.
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