Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Naked mole rats may hold clues to surviving stroke

01.12.2009
Blind, nearly hairless, and looking something like toothy, plump, pink fingers, naked mole rats may rank among nature's most maligned creatures, but their unusual physiology endears them to scientists.

Two University of Illinois at Chicago researchers report in the Dec. 9 issue of NeuroReport (now on-line) that adult naked mole rat brain tissue can withstand extreme hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, for periods exceeding a half-hour -- much longer than brain tissue from other mammals.

The findings may yield clues for better treatment of brain injuries associated with heart attack, stroke and accidents where the brain is starved of vital oxygen.

John Larson, associate professor of physiology in psychiatry, and Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences, studied African naked mole rats -- small rodents that live about six feet underground in big colonies of up to 300 members. The living is tight and the breathing even worse, with the limited air supply high in carbon dioxide and low in oxygen.

The air they breathe is so foul it would be fatal or lead to irreversible brain damage in any other mammal, Larson and Park said.

But naked mole rats studied were found to show systemic hypoxia adaptations, such as in the lungs and blood, as well as neuron adaptations that allow brain cells to function at oxygen and carbon dioxide levels that other mammals cannot tolerate.

"In the most extreme cases, naked mole rat neurons maintain function more than six times longer than mouse neurons after the onset of oxygen deprivation," said Larson.

"We also find it very intriguing that naked mole rat neurons exhibit some electrophysiological properties that suggest that neurons in these animals retain immature characteristics."

All mammal fetuses live in a low-oxygen environment in the womb, and human infants continue to show brain resistance to oxygen deprivation for a brief time into early childhood. But naked mole rats, unlike other mammals, retain this ability into adulthood.

"We believe that the extreme resistance to oxygen deprivation is a result of evolutionary adaptations for surviving in a chronically low-oxygen environment," said Park.

"The trick now will be to learn how naked mole rats have been able to retain infant-like brain protection from low oxygen, so we can use this information to help people who experience temporary loss of oxygen to the brain in situations like heart attacks, stroke or drowning," he said.

Larson said study of the naked mole rat's brain may yield clues for learning the mechanisms that allow longer neuronal survival after such accidents or medical emergencies, which may suggest ways to avoid permanent human brain damage.

Paul Francuch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History

24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

24.05.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>