26 September 2018

Relationship between lipids and Alzheimer’s

Four years ago, Pilar Martinez began studying the role of lipids – fats – in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. She quickly became convinced that lipids play an important role in the development of this brain disease. To keep pursuing this line of research, more funding is urgently needed.

Pilar Martinez


Pilar Martinez

One of those ways is mass spectrometry. “Here in Maastricht we use the latest scanners and imaging techniques to map changes in lipids, right down to the molecular level. We can see the effects of substances, which brings us closer to a full understanding of these lipids. This is ideal for my research because we want to know what lipids do in cells. I’m a biologist, though, not a technician. Fortunately, these disciplines come together in EURLIPIDS.”


Just before the summer, a technical partner of EURLIPIDS published an article in the journal Nature Methods on one of their first successes: a tool that can be used to quickly determine the stage and severity of a disease such as Alzheimer’s or MS based on lipid levels. “A great result, and a tool we’ll be using too,” says Martinez. “It’s made it even clearer that lipids are crucial to the health of cells in the human body. To be continued – that much is certain.”


By: Jos Cortenraad (text), Loraine Bodewes (photography)