Navigation Links
Naked mole-rats bear lifesaving clues
Date:2/23/2012

Could blind, buck-toothed, finger-sized naked mole-rats harbor in their brain cells a survival secret that might lead to better heart attack or stroke treatments?

University of Illinois at Chicago biologist Thomas Park and colleagues at UIC and the University of Texas Heath Science Center at San Antonio think the subterranean lifestyle of the pasty-looking rodents may indeed hold clues to keeping brain cells alive and functioning when oxygen is scarce. The key may lie in how brain cells regulate their intake of calcium.

"Normally, calcium in brain cells does wonderful things, including forming memories," says Park, who is professor of biological sciences at UIC. "But too much calcium makes things go haywire."

Brain cells starved of oxygen can't regulate calcium entry, and too much calcium in the cell is lethal. When a heart attack or stroke prevents oxygenated blood from reaching the brain, brain damage or death results.

Naked mole-rats, however, are very tolerant to oxygen deprivation, or hypoxia -- as are human newborns, whose brain cells have calcium channels that close during oxygen deprivation, protecting the cells from calcium overdose. With age, these calcium channels no longer close, which normally isn't a problem -- except during a heart attack.

Naked mole-rats retain a tolerance for oxygen deprivation into adulthood. Park and his colleagues measured calcium entry in brain tissue that had been kept under oxygen-poor conditions, reporting their findings online Feb. 21 in PLoS One.

"We knew the adults of this unusual mammal had brains that, like infant humans, were very tolerant to oxygen deprivation," he said. "We wanted to know if the adult naked mole-rats used the same strategy as babies to prevent calcium entry. This is exactly what we found."

Park thinks this strategy is an evolutionary adaptation by mole-rats, which live in the hundreds underground in tight, oxygen-deprived conditions.

"Imagine 200 mice living in a shoe box buried four feet under the ground -- things are going to get bad fast," he said.

The researchers think they have identified a novel mechanism for protecting the adult brain in times of oxygen deprivation.

"Developing this target into a clinical application is our next goal," he said. "We need to find a way to rapidly up-regulate the infant-type of calcium channels. Adult humans actually have some of these channels already, but far fewer than infants."

Park, who for years has studied naked mole-rats and their unusual adaptations, thinks the latest findings "are just the tip of the iceberg" of what we can learn from the rodents. Their homes are not only oxygen-poor, but rich in carbon dioxide and ammonia -- conditions that would make most animals ill. Yet mole-rats have evolved to suppress pain and even cancer.

"The more we study these creatures," said Park, "the more we learn."


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Francuch
francuch@uic.edu
312-996-3457
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Bottom of the swimming league: Naked mole rat sperm
2. Barshop Institute, global team sequences DNA of naked mole rat
3. Naked penguins baffle experts
4. New Naked Scientists series investigates our oceans
5. Serendipity leads to lifesaving discovery
6. Cleveland Clinic joins 23andMe in the search for genetic clues to Parkinsons disease
7. A bugs (sex) life: Diving beetles offer unexpected clues about sexual selection
8. Spasticity gene finding provides clues to causes of nerve cell degeneration
9. Ancient dry spells offer clues about the future of drought
10. Neurons grown from skin cells may hold clues to autism
11. Hydrogen peroxide provides clues to immunity, wound healing and tumor biology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/14/2016)... Nov. 14, 2016  Based on its ... Frost & Sullivan recognizes FST Biometrics with ... for Visionary Innovation Leadership. FST Biometrics emerged ... identification market by pioneering In Motion Identification ... instant, seamless, and non-invasive verification. This patented ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... June 22, 2016 On Monday, the Department ... industry to share solutions for the Biometric Exit Program. ... and Border Protection (CBP), explains that CBP intends to ... the United States , in order ... defeat imposters. Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... 2016 Transparency Market Research ... Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size Share ... the report, the  global gesture recognition market  was ... is estimated to grow at a CAGR of ... Increasing application of gesture recognition technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... findings demonstrating the value of DNA microarray comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) ... Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Using molecular test results from tumors with previously ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 01, 2016 , ... DrugDev believes the only way to achieve ... experience. All three tenets were on display at the 2nd Annual DrugDev User Summit ... sponsor, CRO and site organizations to discuss innovation and the future of clinical research. ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SurePure, Inc. ... announced today that the Company has concluded an agreement ... right for a 90-day period to acquire units of ... of approximately USD 3.7 million.  Concurrently ... with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek regulatory approvals ...
(Date:11/30/2016)...  GenomOncology today announced the appointment of Joshua F. ... Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical content development and ... The GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists with a seamless ... decision support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: