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APS Contact: Stacy Brooks


Phone: 301.634.7209

Twitter: @APSPhysiology

July APSselect Research Highlights

Top articles from APS journals as selected by the Editors-in-Chief

Bethesda, Md. (July 1, 2015)—Each month, the American Physiological Society (APS) highlights the “best of the best” research as part of the APSselect program. In addition to two featured press releases on electric nerve stimulation to reverse spinal cord injury nerve damage and an NSAID-derivative for chronic pain that protects the small intestine, read more highlighted research results from this month selections below. Find all of this month’s selected articles on the APSselect website.

Brown Fat Transplant Reversed Type 1 Diabetes without Insulin in Non-Obese Diabetic Mice

An estimated 1.25 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes (T1D). T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that helps the body process glucose (sugar) from food. The disease can strike suddenly in children and adults and leads to a lifelong dependence on insulin injections or an insulin pump. Subhadra C. Gunawardana and David Piston of Vanderbilt University previously found that embryonic brown fat transplants can establish normal blood sugar levels without the use of insulin in a mouse model of insulin-deficient diabetes. In a new study, the team found that brown fat transplant reversed T1D and restored glucose tolerance to normal in non-obese diabetic mice (in 53 percent of the study sample). They also found that brown fat transplantation before T1D onset could delay or prevent the disease altogether. Though still in an experimental phase, brown fat transplant could hold promise as a permanent treatment for T1D. “Once the success rates of this technique are optimized and suitable alternatives to embryonic tissue are established, insulin-independent reversal of diabetes using adipose tissue can become a realistic option,” the researchers wrote. “Insulin-independent reversal of type 1 diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice with brown adipose tissue transplant” is published in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism. View the full study.

How to Use the Good to Combat the Bad in Cardiovascular Disease

Changes in blood flow pattern, such as from plaque build-up in the arteries, initiate a cascade of conflicting signals. Some responses damage the blood vessel, while others heal it. A new study identifies the involvement of a protective response pathway, the heme oxygenase system, that has potential as a new therapeutic strategy for cardiovascular diseases. In the study, researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., demonstrated that reducing blood flow activated the heme oxygenase genes. Activation of the genes enlarged the artery to restore blood flow and mitigated the blood vessel injury that follows blood flow pattern changes. This study is the first to demonstrate the importance of the heme oxygenase system in responding to changes in blood flow pattern and the possibility of using it to treat cardiovascular diseases, the researchers wrote. “Induction and functional significance of the heme oxygenase system in pathological shear stress in vivo” is published in the American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology. View the full study.

Researchers find lower caloric intake provides a benefit to middle-aged, but not young, animals

Calorie restriction has long been studied as a way to extend lifespan. It has been associated reduced risk of cardiovascular and other diseases and improved overall health. Now, researchers at Chang Gung University in Taiwan have found that calorie restriction can also be beneficial to muscles, improving muscle metabolism and mass at an important time—during middle age. The article “Late-onset Caloric Restriction Alters Skeletal Muscle Metabolism by Modulating Pyruvate Metabolism” is published in the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism. View the full study. (Read the press release on the APS website.)

Even His Muscle Fibers Are Faster than Yours: Exploring the Muscle Signature of a Champion Sprinter

Researchers at Ball State University and James Madison University looked at the fiber makeup of the quadricep of former world champion sprinter Colin Jackson. The investigators found that Jackson has a high number of the super-fast glucose-using fibers, which was surprising because other elite sprinters studied have very few. The researchers noted that animals that sprint, such as cheetahs and horses, also have a high percentage of these super-fast fibers and suggested that sprinting ability could be partly related to the number of these fibers. Jackson’s unique muscle profile “provides a scientific basis for the high level of sprinting success he achieved during his career,” the researchers stated. “Skeletal Muscle Signature of a Champion Sprint Runner” is published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. View the full study.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, please contact Stacy Brooks at 301-634-7209.

Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and publishes 15 peer-reviewed journals with a worldwide readership.