Area of Doctoral Study: Biochemistry
Undergraduate Institute: Towson University
Research Advisor: Brian Polster, Ph.D.
Description of Research
My project centers on the effects of the synthetic coenzyme Q partial-analogue idebenone on rat cortical astrocyte and neuron bioenergetics. I utilize primary cell cultures of rat cortical astrocytes and neurons to measure mitochondrial respiration. I have been able to demonstrate cell specific effects of idebenone on cellular respiration. Furthermore I have been able to demonstrate that idebenone is able to mitigate the effects of nitric oxide on astrocyte energy metabolism at physiologically relevant pO2. Nitric oxide is a reactive nitrogen species that is released by activated glial cells during a neuroinflammatory response. Prolonged glial activation is implicated in the disease pathology of many acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. I have demonstrated that pO2 modulates astrocyte sensitivity to respiratory impairment induced by nitric oxide and my current goals are to determine if upregulation of endogenous antioxidants in conjunction with idebenone treatment will protect astrocytes from the mitochondrial metabolic dysfunction cause by nitric oxide.