Eleven investigators at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute have received a shared instrumentation grant from the National Institutes of Health to purchase a Seahorse XFe24 extracellular flux analyzer.
“This instrument measures the bioenergetic health of the cells and tissues by measuring various parameters of mitochondria — the cellular powerhouses,” said Mikhail Alexeyev, Ph.D., professor of physiology and cell biology at the USA College of Medicine. “All cells need energy to survive, and ATP is the universal energy currency in our bodies. Mitochondria produce the bulk of ATP in most cells — hence the designation of powerhouses — and it has been long since known that mitochondrial function is altered in aging and disease.”
Some extreme mitochondrial malfunction includes mitochondrial diseases, which are often incurable, lethal disorders with very limited palliative treatment options, and cancer, in which the mitochondrial function is altered dramatically.
“By helping improve our understanding of the mechanisms of disease, this instrument holds the potential to develop effective treatments for a wide range of diseases,” Alexeyev said. “In particular, it will help researchers at USA who are involved in projects to advance their respective fields of study — specifically projects investigating mitochondrial disease, mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, vascular physiology and pathology, cellular metabolism, host-pathogen interaction, immunology, cancer biology and cell biology.”
The new equipment will enhance biomedical research across USA and help investigators maintain their competitiveness for extramural funding.
The XFe24 analyzers measure oxygen consumption rate (OCR) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) in order to assess cellular metabolic functions. The XFe24 has a 24-well plate format and can be used on a variety of samples due to the precision-controlled heating tray.