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'Couch potato pill' might stop heat stroke too
Date:1/8/2012

raction. It is responsible for releasing positively charged calcium ions from storage compartments within cells, which then combine with muscle proteins to trigger contraction. In response to heat, mutations in RYR1 cause excessive amounts of calcium to leak from the storage compartment and trigger uncontrolled muscle contractions. The team found that AICAR reduces calcium leakage from RYR1, thus diminishing heat-induced contractions, muscle damage, and death.

In a separate but related article published in the journal Anesthesiology, Dirksen and colleagues reported cases of two children with RYR1 mutations who died following episodes triggered by either a viral fever or exposure to environmental heat stress. The team points out that while RYR1 mutations may only account for a small subset of heat stroke cases in the general population, they believe their finding that AICAR is protective against heat stroke is likely to apply more broadly.

"We think the fundamental process that occurs during heat stroke in individuals with RYR1 mutations is likely to be similar to what happens even in their absence. The difference may be that individuals with RYR1 mutations are more easily thrust into the process, whereas those without need to be pushed more for example, by exposure to even greater temperatures or a longer time in order to move beyond a critical threshold," noted Dirksen.

The team plans to study the efficacy of AICAR in other models of heat- and exercise-induced disorders.

Though no couch potato pill has come to fruition yet, AICAR is currently under investigation for the treatment of certain muscle diseases and metabolic disorders where exercise is known to be beneficial.


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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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