Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: New Study Suggests Ways to Control Fever-Induced Seizures

22.08.2007
When your body cranks up the heat, it’s a sign that something’s wrong—and a fever is designed to help fight off the infection.

But turning up the temperature can have a down side: in about one in 25 infants or small children, high fever can trigger fever-induced (febrile) seizures. While the seizures themselves are generally harmless, a prolonged fever resulting from infection or heatstroke of over 108°F (42°C) can eventually lead to respiratory distress, cognitive dysfunction, brain damage or death.

New research by scientists at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Queen’s University has shown that genetic variation in the foraging gene results in different tolerance for heat stress, and demonstrates how the use of specific drugs can replicate this effect in fruit flies and locusts. While the findings are at an early stage, the researchers suggest that since this genetic pathway is found in other organisms, it could lead to ways to rapidly protect the brain from extremely high fevers in mammals, including humans. The new study appears in the August 22 issue of the journal PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science.

“Our research suggests that manipulation of a single gene or genetic pathway will be sufficient to rapidly protect the nervous system from damage due to extreme heat stress,” says senior researcher, Professor Marla B. Sokolowski, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Genetics.

In their research, post-doctoral fellow Ken Dawson-Scully and Sokolowski demonstrate that the foraging gene, responsible for a protein called PKG, protects against heat-induced neural failure in fruit flies and locusts. When they increased the temperature by 5°C per minute (starting from 22°C and rising to 42°C), they found that fruit flies with a lower level of PKG experienced neural failure at much higher temperatures than those with higher levels of PKG.

Using drugs that interact with the PKG molecule, the researchers showed it is possible to induce an extremely rapid protection of neural function during heat stress. Queen's biologists Gary Armstrong and Mel Robertson exposed locusts to increasing heat while monitoring the neural circuit that controls breathing. At approximately 30°C (about three minutes before expected neural failure), the researchers injected the locusts with a PKG inhibitor. Compared to locusts who received a placebo injection, the treated locusts showed a rapid and significant protection of their neural circuitry.

“During heat trauma to the brain, there exists a window of opportunity between the time of occurrence of neural dysfunction and eventual brain damage or death,” says Dawson-Scully. “Manipulation of the PKG pathway during this period should increase an individual’s chance of survival.”

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0000773
http://www.plos.org/press/pone-02-08-sokolowski1.jpg
http://www.plos.org/press/pone-02-08-sokolowski2.jpg

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

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: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>