Navigation Links
Breaks in hibernation help fight bugs

A habit in some animals to periodically wake up while hibernating may be an evolutionary mechanism to fight bacterial infection, according to researchers at Penn State. The finding could offer an insight into the spread and emergence of infectious disease in wildlife, and has potential implications for human health.

Many warm-blooded animals slip into an inert sleep-like state as part of a unique strategy to get past harsh winters when food supplies are low and the need for energy to stay warm is high. The immune system is in sleep mode as well.

"The production of antibodies, and white blood cells is stopped. Basically all cell reproduction shuts off," says Angela Luis, a doctoral candidate in ecology at Penn State's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics.

However, animals regularly snap out of their torpor, and become fully active. But such sudden breaks from slumber eat into much of the animal's stored energy reserves, and it is not fully clear why the animals need to wake up, and how often

Some scientists think the answer lies in bacterial infections that could run rampant in the face of an immune system that is essentially asleep.

"Animals cannot tell when they need to wake up, or if they are infected," says Luis. If the animals hibernate for long they risk serious infection, she says, while waking up frequently wastes precious energy, and could prove fatal as well.

In other words, animals with an optimal time of torpor will win out over others, says Luis, who presented her findings at the 91st annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America.

Luis and her colleagues used a simple mathematical model that mimicked the growth of bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella in European ground squirrels, and how it affected their torpor patterns in relation to temperature.

Microbial growth depends on temperature. Most bacteria grow faster when it is warm and much slower when it is cold. For animals exposed to Salmonella, which multiplies rapidly in warm temperature, a regular break in hibernation would be an important adaptation to combat the germs, when experiencing a warmer winter. However, Salmonella doesn't thrive at very low temperatures, so when animals experience a particularly cold winter, these breaks wouldn't be crucial.

But if the animals were exposed to certain pathogens that thrive at low temperatures, like some E. coli, the animals would still have to regularly break their hibernation to ensure protection at all temperatures, Luis explains.

"Our model, which is confirmed by field data, shows that torpor patterns generally seen in some hibernating animals may be an evolutionary adaptation to help protect them from bacteria that grow well in low temperatures," says Luis.

The researchers suggest that an understanding of how pathogens interact with their hibernating hosts could provide valuable insight into the spread and emergence of zoonotic diseases.


'"/>

Source:Penn State


Related biology news :

1. Possible brain hormone may unlock mystery of hibernation
2. Learning to fight an adversary that wont stay down
3. Antibiotic might fight HIV-induced neurological problems
4. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
5. Molecular models advance the fight against malaria
6. Molecule that usually protects infection-fighting cells may cause plaque deposits inside arteries
7. Researchers find promising cancer-fighting power of synthetic cell-signaling molecule
8. Agilent Technologies new genome analysis technology set to accelerate Australia fight against mesothelioma
9. Two chemicals boost immune cells ability to fight HIV without gene therapy
10. Experiment station researchers to explore genome of disease-fighting fungus
11. Bacterial genome sheds light on synthesizing cancer-fighting compounds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition ... Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions , a ... enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of retired FBI ... public safety business development. Mr. Sheridan brings ... including a focus on the aviation transportation sector, to ... position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... enables to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. The ... ... fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... YORK , March 24, 2017 ... ended the trading session at 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the ... at 20,656.58; and the S&P 500 closed at 2,345.96, ... as 4 sectors closed in green, 4 sectors finished ... day. This Friday, Stock-Callers.com has initiated reports coverage on ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... The Global Market for Bioproducts Should Reach $714.6 Billion by ... 8.9%, This research report quantifies the two ... segments: bio-derived chemicals, biofuels, pharmaceuticals (biodrugs and herbal/botanicals), biocomposite materials, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Branford, CT (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 ... ... Counsel, LLC, was recently selected by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a ... honored at CTC’s thirteenth annual Women of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... YORK , March 23, 2017 ... look at four equities in the Biotech industry: Sangamo ... Synthetic Biologics Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), and Regulus Therapeutics ... 21 st , 2017, Credit Suisse upgraded its rating on ... by downloading their free report at: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: