Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists provide new evidence for cellular cause of SIDS


University of Chicago researchers and colleagues have found strong support that a disturbance of a specific neurochemical can lead to sudden infant death syndrome, the primary cause of death before age 1 in the United States. Approximately 3,000 infants die each year from SIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the March 8, 2006, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers describe what happens during hypoxia when levels of the hormone serotonin are disturbed in pacemaker cells -- the specific group of neurons they previously showed to be responsible for gasping, which resets the normal breathing pattern for babies. Scientists found that normal serotonin levels are needed in these respiratory pacemakers to induce gasping and ignite auto-resuscitation.

"This confirms our previous studies," said lead author Jan-Marino Ramirez, a professor of organismal biology and anatomy. "Now we’ve just better defined the players in the system."

In a paper published last year in the journal Neuron, Ramirez’s work found that sodium-driven pacemaker cells controlled gasping. This work in tissue slices was confirmed in a study published last month by University of Bristol researchers who found the same results in rats.

Scientists knew that SIDS victims had disturbed levels of serotonin in areas critical for respiration. Since serotonin regulates the sodium channels in pacemaker cells, Ramirez’s research team examined more closely serotonin levels in sodium-driven pacemaker neurons in the breathing center.

When researchers removed serotonin from these pacemaker cells, the gasping drastically decreased, from typically about 20 gasps to just two or three gasps -- not enough for the baby to awaken.

"It indicates that if there’s a problem with serotonin, the gasping is gone," Ramirez said. "And when these children don’t gasp, they don’t wake up."

According to the researcher, when the body senses a lack of oxygen, it shuts down most of the cellular respiratory network and focuses its energy on gasping, which is modulated solely by sodium-driven pacemaker neurons. If that specific neuron is blocked, for whatever reason, the body cannot gasp.

This means there may be nothing wrong with a baby’s breathing under normal conditions, but if the baby goes into hypoxia from a blocked airway or because the baby sleeps on its tummy and does not receive sufficient oxygen, the child needs the sodium-driven pacemakers in order to gasp, which wakes the baby and initiates movement or crying.

"Gasping is an important arousal or auto-resuscitation mechanism," Ramirez said. It resets a baby’s normal breathing rhythm and also alerts the baby as well as the mother that something is wrong.

"During normal breathing, it’s a complicated network. However, the network becomes more vulnerable to situations like hypoxia, because under these conditions, respiration relies on only one group of pacemakers that become the critical drivers of [breathing] rhythm," Ramirez said.

Disturbed serotonin levels are also implicated in many psychiatric conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder. According to Ramirez, adults suffering with these types of conditions may be survivors of SIDS.

Ramirez and his colleagues now are looking more closely at the effects of different levels of serotonin, as well as the hormone norepinephrine, and exactly how much of each is necessary to keep auto-resuscitation in tact.

Catherine Gianaro | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>