Background: Many neuronal and glial diseases have been associated with changes in metabolism. Therefore, metabolic reprogramming has become an important area of research to better understand disease at the cellular level, as well as to identify targets for treatment. Model systems are ideal for interrogating metabolic questions in a tissue dependent context. However, while new tools have been developed to study metabolism in cultured cells there has been less progress towards studies in vivo and ex vivo. New method: We have developed a method using newly designed tissue restraints to adapt the Agilent XFe96 metabolic analyzer for whole brain analysis. These restraints create a chamber for Drosophila brains and other small model system tissues to reside undisrupted, while still remaining in the zone for measurements by sensor probes. Results: This method generates reproducible oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification rate data for Drosophila larval and adult brains. Single brains are effectively treated with inhibitors and expected metabolic readings are observed. Measuring metabolic changes, such as glycolytic rate, in transgenic larval brains demonstrates the potential for studying how genotype affects metabolism. Comparison with existing methods and conclusions: Current methodology either utilizes whole animal chambers to measure respiration, not allowing for targeted tissue analysis, or uses technically challenging MRI technology for in vivo analysis that is not suitable for smaller model systems. This new method allows for novel metabolic investigation of intact brains and other tissues ex vivo in a quick, and simplistic way with the potential for large-scale studies.
Drosophila melanogaster; Metabolism; Oxygen consumption; Extracellular acidification; Metabolic reprogramming; XFe96 analyzer; ex vivo