Seahorse analyzer offers many opportunities

Published on
April 20, 2017

Are you studying cellular metabolism? The Seahorse analyzer offers many opportunities. The participants of the seminar and workshop on 12 April were showered with theory, many examples and research results, and also practical tips in use of the Seahorse, an analyzer for studying cellular metabolism.

The meeting was hosted by Vincent de Boer of the Human & Animal Physiology group and the Wageningen expert on the Seahorse analyzer.

Shared Research Facilities

An introduction on the opportunities of Wageningen’s Shared Research Facilities was given by Petra Caessens. She explained that WUR invests in advanced equipment which can be shared by researchers within WUR, and also be used by external (large) companies as well as start-ups. These shared facilities, including the Seahorse cellular analyzer, are positioned at the different groups of Wageningen University and Research, resulting in the advantage that the equipment is where the research and technical expertise lies.

Seahorse cellular analyzer possibilities

Daniel Gebhard, product specialist at supplier Agilent Technologies, introduced the participants to the possibilities of the Seahorse technology. In the basic setup oxygen consumption rate (ORC) and extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) are measured to determine the metabolic phenotype. During the measurement substrates and inhibitors can be added at different times, and the process can be analysed in real time. Different tests are possible, e.g. on phenotype, glycolysis stress, mitochondria stress, and fuel flex test.

“Unique to the Wageningen research setup with the Seahorse XFe96 is that ambient parameters, such as pressure and temperature, can be altered, as it is placed in a hypoxic chamber”.

The data from the analyzer ECAR and ORC can be supplemented by data from other research, e.g., proteomics, to zoom in on the specific (disturbed) mechanism in the pathway. But also when the metabolic imbalance is known, the ORC and ECAR data can provide extra information in the processes.

For more information about the technical specifications check out the webpage.

Macrophages research

UvA/AMC researcher Jan van den Bossche is very experienced with the technology in looking at macrophages, and more specific in repolarisation of the phenotype. Phenotypes have different properties, as e.g., M1 can promote inflammation and M2 can help battle the effects of atherosclerosis. Besides obtaining insight into different human illnesses, the Seahorse can also be used to provide a detailed profile of animal, fungal or plant metabolism.

Broader perspective

The metabolic research with the Seahorse is within the scope of the Human and Animal Physiology group research into metabolic health, as Professor Jaap Keijer explains. His focus lies on development in early life, and aging or overweight humans and the role nutrients in food play in the improvement of health and understanding the underlying metabolic mechanics. He emphasizes that besides the Seahorse, Wageningen researchers have access to many advanced research facilities for studying metabolism and metabolic parameters.