Raman microscopy reveals how cell inflammation activates glucose and lipid metabolism

Borek-Dorosz, Aleksandra and Pieczara, Anna and Orleanska, Jagoda and Brzozowski, Krzysztof and Tipping, William and Graham, Duncan and Bik, Ewelina and Kubrak, Adam and Baranska, Malgorzata and Majzner, Katarzyna (2024) Raman microscopy reveals how cell inflammation activates glucose and lipid metabolism. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1871 (1). 119575. ISSN 0167-4889 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamcr.2023.119575)

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Metabolism of endothelial cells (ECs) depends on the availability of the energy substrates. Since the endothelium is the first line of defence against inflammation in the cardiovascular system and its dysfunction can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases, it is important to understand how glucose metabolism changes during inflammation. In this work, glucose uptake was studied in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) in high glucose (HG), and additionally in an inflammatory state, using Raman imaging. HG state was induced by incubation of ECs with a deuterated glucose analogue, while the EC inflammation was caused by TNF-α pre-treatment. Spontaneous and stimulated Raman scattering spectroscopy provided comprehensive information on biochemical changes, including lipids and the extent of unsaturation induced by excess glucose in ECs., induced by excess glucose in ECs. In this work, we indicated spectroscopic markers of metabolic changes in ECs as a strong increase in the ratio of the intensity of lipids / (proteins + lipids) bands and an increase in the level of lipid unsaturation and mitochondrial changes. Inflamed ECs treated with HG, revealed enhanced glucose uptake, and intensified lipid production i.a. of unsaturated lipids. Additionally, increased cytochrome c signal in the mitochondrial region indicated higher mitochondrial activity and biogenesis. Raman spectroscopy is a powerful method for determining the metabolic markers of ED which will better inform understanding of disease onset, development, and treatment.