Therapeutic Mitochondrial Delivery to Astrocytes for Ischemic Stroke; Personal Risk Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

Taylor-Fishwick, Emma, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Price, Richard, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Gorick, Catherine, Engineering Graduate, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot lodged in an artery supplying blood to the brain and is a leading cause of death in the US. Although there are treatments to remove the clot and replenish blood flow to the brain, current treatments do not address the damage to mitochondria that occurs as a result of an ischemic stroke. The dysfunctional mitochondria are transferred from astrocytes to neurons, continuing the ischemic cascade and leading to further post-stroke complication and disabilities. Transfer of mitochondria has been seen to improve myocardial function in patients with myocardial ischemia reperfusion injury. Therefore, the goal of this project was to determine which tissue source (cardiac muscle, skeletal muscle, or adipose tissue) provides the most effective mitochondria for maximum uptake and ATP production in astrocytes. Cardiac mitochondria were found to have significantly higher ATP production per mitochondria than all other types of mitochondria when not in cells. When mitochondria were added to astrocytes, peridroplet adipose mitochondria exhibited the highest ATP production in astrocytes at a quantity that was significantly higher than cardiac and cytoplasmic adipose mitochondria. Skeletal mitochondria were found to have the highest uptake in astrocytes at a significantly higher rate than all other types of mitochondria, but all types were uptaken at a high level. Based on these results, peridroplet adipose mitochondria had the highest ATP production in astrocytes, high uptake in astrocytes, and adipose tissue provided the quickest removal that would have the shortest recovery time in human patients. Therefore, peridroplet adipose mitochondria was determined to be the most effective therapeutic for treatment of ischemic stroke in order to decrease mitochondrial dysfunction and post-stroke complications in patients.

For the STS research paper, the personal risks of direct-to-consumer genetic testing consumers is evaluated. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing has increased in popularity over the past ten years due to the advancements in the information they are able to provide and also due to the decreasing cost. However, the results that consumers acquire from these services can be confusing because the consumers do not always understand the information they are receiving, nor the limitation that exists with these testing services. Therefore, a thorough analysis of the personal risks a person takes when performing these services is needed. In order to perform the analysis, Risk Analysis by Ulrich Beck is utilized. The expected outcomes of this paper are that many ‘new risks’ will be discovered that affect a large population of the United States. Additionally, realization will be made that these tests contain a greater amount of uncertainties and less stringent regulations on sharing of information than consumers are aware of. The analysis is, therefore, vital in being able to help inform the public about these tests and also help to guide future policies in order to limit unforeseen consequences of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. This work is also significant to the field of STS because it provides an analysis of how the technology and the science of direct-to-consumer genetic testing has the ability to affect the way our society is organized and the way people view their genetic information.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Ischemic Stroke, Mitochondria, Risk Analysis, Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Richard Price and Catherine Gorick
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Caitleen Copeland

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