Main content area

Metabolomic Study of Hibernating Syrian Hamster Brains: In Search of Neuroprotective Agents

Gonzalez-Riano, Carolina, León-Espinosa, Gonzalo, Regalado-Reyes, Mamen, García, Antonia, DeFelipe, Javier, Barbas, Coral
Journal of proteome research 2019 v.18 no.3 pp. 1175-1190
Alzheimer disease, Golgi apparatus, Mesocricetus auratus, animals, brain, ceramides, dephosphorylation, hibernation, metabolites, metabolomics, models, phosphorylation, proteome
Syrian hamsters undergo a reversible hyperphosphorylation of protein τ during hibernation, providing a unique natural model that may unveil the physiological mechanisms behind this critical process involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies. The hibernation cycle of these animals fluctuates between a pair of stages: 3–4 days of torpor bouts interspersed with periods of euthermia called arousals that last several hours. In this study, we investigated for the first time the metabolic changes in brain tissue during hibernation. A total of 337 metabolites showed statistically significant differences during hibernation. Based on these metabolites, several pathways were found to be significantly regulated and, therefore, play a key role in the regulation of hibernation processes. The increase in the levels of ceramides containing more than 20 C atoms was found in torpor animals, reflecting a higher activity of CerS2 during hibernation, linked to neurofibrillary tangle generation and structural changes in the Golgi apparatus. Our results open up the debate about the possible significance of some metabolites during hibernation, which may possibly be related to τ phosphorylation and dephosphorylation events. In general, this study may provide insights into novel neuroprotective agents because the alterations described throughout the hibernation process are reversible.