The requested instrument is a Dionex ICS 5000 UV-visible high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with a Pickering PCX Pinnacle Amino Acids 120 post column reaction module. This state-of-the-art instrument will allow the accurate and efficient measurement of 28 amino acids and their derivatives from the plasma of a variety of different mammalian species, including plasma from humans, sheep, non-human primates, and rodents. Our collaborative team of perinatal and pediatric scientists share the common goal of understanding how early life events, including fetal, neonatal and infant over- and under-nutrition, predispose an individual for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity later in life. Users in the group are actively studying fetal growth abnormalities from pregnancy complications such as placental insufficiency (Major Users: Brown, Rozance, and Wesolowski), maternal undernutrition (Major Users: Jansson and Krebs), obesity and diabetes (Major Users: Hernandez, Friedman, Powell, and Jansson), as well as how postnatal growth patterns might impact later life obesity risk (Major User: Krebs). The instrument will enhance the goals of our NIH-funded research projects by providing an in-depth evaluation of amino acid concentrations, delivery, and utilization by the fetus and infant. Protein metabolism is an essential component of the establishment of healthy body composition, and, in some cases, can present as a long term predictor of obesity risk. The accuracy of measurement of amino acid concentrations across whole fetal and tissue-specific organ beds is especially important and unique to our research goals as we determine fetal and neonatal arterial-venous concentration differences and utilization rates in several disease states in pregnancy. In addition, the instrument will allow us to determine maternal and fetal amino acid concentrations, which may serve as potential biomarkers of nutritional status, mitochondrial dysfunction, and obesity risk. We have outstanding technical expertise to process samples and optimally maintain the instrument with combined operator experience of over 40 years, and a cost-effective financial plan to maximize utilization of the instrument for all Users. In summary, the UV- visible HPLC instrument will further our understanding of substrate utilization and protein metabolism in early life, with the long-term goal of preventing the onset of obesity and diabetes as a result of adverse early life nutritional exposures.
Exposure of the fetus to either excessive or insufficient nutrients in the womb increases the risk for developing metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes later in life. We will use a specialized instrument that measures blood protein concentrations to help us understand how protein is processed in the body. This, in turn, will allow for the development of therapies to prevent the onset of obesity and diabetes for the next generation.