Medicine

A cool model for biomedical research

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Science  27 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6387, pp. 394-395
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6387.394-e

Hibernation is a fascinating physiological adaptation. One important question is which cellular signaling pathways allow hibernating mammals to enter and exit a cold-tolerant state without damage to cells and organs. Understanding this could conceivably lead to interventions that prolong the shelf life of donor organs before transplant. Ou et al. studied these pathways by establishing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a hibernating ground squirrel. Neurons derived from the iPSCs retained cold-resistant features, including microtubule stability. Comparison of ground squirrel and human iPSC-derived neurons revealed that differences in cold tolerance result in part from species differences in druggable signaling pathways that govern mitochondrial activity and protein quality-control mechanisms.

Neural stem cells in thirteen-lined ground squirrels are geared for hibernation.

PHOTO: POWER AND SYRED/SCIENCE SOURCE

Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.010 (2018).

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