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The Integrative Biology Core Return to Cores

The Integrative Biology Core combines state-of-the-art in vivo metabolic phenotyping with detailed ex vivo analysis to examine how botanical extracts help maintain health and promote metabolic resiliency.


The Integrative Biology Core


In the previous funding cycles, the Integrative Biology Core (IBC) combined state-of-the-art in vivo metabolic phenotyping with detailed ex vivo analysis of serum and tissue samples to examine the mechanisms by which botanical extracts ameliorated the developmental pathology of insulin resistance. This experimental strategy provided key insights regarding the tissue sites where beneficial effects for botanicals were realized. For this next funding cycle, our Center will focus on maintenance of human health and how botanicals play a role in promoting metabolic resiliency. Thus, our research plan is designed such that each project will conduct detailed mechanistic studies on selected botanicals on cellular pathways in specific tissues proposed to be involved in the organism’s ability to resist disease state changes To support the next set of BRC research projects, new technologies and directions were required in order to provide a detailed understanding of the role of botanicals in maintaining human health. As such, the IBC now combines small animal metabolic phenotyping with live-cell imaging, next generation sequencing for detailed gene expression and microbiota analyses to provide insights into the mechanisms engaged by botanical extracts to preserve normal metabolism at the whole body level and to promote resilience to an obesogenic environment.


The IBC is located at Pennington Biomedical and is comprised of 4 interactive components: the Animal Research Subcore, the Analytical Chemistry Subcore, the Cell Imaging Subcore, and the Genomics Subcore. The IBC functions interactively with the Project leaders, the Administrative Core and the Botanical Core in all phases of experimental planning, execution, analysis, and interpretation. The overall goal of the IBC is to bring the combined expertise of all elements of the BRC to bear upon our collective efforts to provide novel insights into the mechanisms that support health maintenance and resilience. The Specific Aims are:


Aim 1: Utilize mouse models that develop obesity and insulin resistance when exposed to high fat diets to evaluate the efficacy of botanical extracts to preserve normal metabolism at the whole body level and promote resilience to an obesogenic environment.


Aim 2: Conduct detailed in vivo metabolic phenotyping to establish the timing and specific effects of the botanical extracts on parameters that assess normal physiologic function such as insulin sensitivity, energy expenditure, fat accumulation, food intake, and metabolic flexibility.


Aim 3: Conduct timed harvest of tissues and serum from in vivo experiments for detailed mechanistic analysis for the Research Projects and Pilot Program.


Aim 4: Develop new in vivo and ex vivo experimental paradigms and analytical methods to support and pursue novel findings from the Research Projects and Pilot Program.


Artemisia sp
. botanical extracts improve gene expression in skeletal muscle during exposure to a high fat diet. Gene expression profiling via microarray on skeletal muscle tissue revealed that botanical extracts from A.scoparia (SCOPA) and A.dracunculus (5011), and from A.santalinaefolia (SANTA) to a lesser extent, lead to activation of the energy-sensing MTOR and Insulin signaling pathways, corroborating the physiological improvement in insulin sensitivity. The activation of the Wnt signaling pathway may indicate improved muscle stem cell management, whereas downregulation of the ECM Receptor Interaction pathway suggests that the excess expression of cell adhesion components characteristic for insulin-resistant muscle is being rectified by botanical extracts from Artemisia sp.

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