Turtles May Hold the Key to Protecting Human Hearts after Heart Attack
Released August 28, 2017 - In humans, going just minutes without oxygen—such as during a heart attack or stroke—can cause devastating damage to the heart. Conversely, freshwater turtles hibernate for months at the bottom of frozen lakes and awake with no heart damage in the spring. Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. are looking to these turtles to understand the mechanisms that protect them from heart damage. “We investigated whether turtles may avoid oxidative damage in the heart after winter hibernation by specifically inhibiting the mitochondrial protein complex I, which is responsible for the production of ROS,” Amanda Bundgård, lead author of the study, explained. The research team will present their findings at the Physiological Bioenergetics: Mitochondria from Bench to Bedside conference in San Diego.