Naked garbage with unusual physical properties
The naked mole is an extraordinary animal. This animal has many very special properties. Researchers from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) in Berlin have found that the naked woman can survive up to 18 minutes without oxygen. The survivors can even compensate for an extreme lack of oxygen for several hours, as the scientists report in the journal Science. The trick: you simply change your metabolism.
A naked animal is an extraordinary animal
The naked mole is an extremely interesting research object for science because it has a multitude of special features. Naked moles with a maximum lifespan of more than 30 years show an extraordinary longevity, especially in view of their small body mass. In comparison, a similarly sized house mouse has a maximum lifespan of four years. Naked gullets also do not need sunlight, for which they have developed a special mechanism of vitamin D formation. In addition, the rodents apparently lack any sense of pain. Now there was another sensation. The not very handsome animals apparently manage without oxygen for 19 minutes. The naked mole rats can even compensate for a massive lack of oxygen for several hours.
If the animals lack oxygen to supply vital glucose to organs such as the heart and brain, they simply use fructose. The research is therefore the first evidence that such a switch works in mammals, explained Gary Lewin from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) in Berlin. This is “a kind of natural adaptation of the almost hairless rodents to the heavy underground life in the caves of the East African desert”. There they live with up to 280 other species. The animals have to dig over many kilometers to the roots of desert plants. This creates a stuffy and oxygen-poor environment. The scientists have now carried out a study to find out how this effect works.
Survive without oxygen
In the study, the researchers exposed the animals to a very low oxygen concentration of 5 percent. Mice were used as comparison animals. These died within the first 15 minutes. The naked mole, on the other hand, was able to compensate for the lack of oxygen for hours without causing any damage to health. For comparison: According to the researchers, humans need at least ten percent oxygen in the air to supply the brain cells with energy. The oxygen serves to metabolize glucose from the food and thus provide energy for the organs of the body.
Now the researchers went one step further. They completely deprive the animals of oxygen. Even then they were tough. The naked mole grinder could endure up to 18 minutes, while the mice suffocated after only 45 seconds. The naked woman lost consciousness and lowered her pulse from 200 to 50 beats per minute. They fell into a kind of hibernation. If they felt oxygen, they woke up immediately, the pulse regulated and they continued as if nothing had happened. “The state of health was undamaged, the researchers said.
Such conditions can occur in nature when numerous animals lie on top of each other because the building is very narrow. The animals at the bottom fall into a twilight sleep because the oxygen is actually no longer available. Only when the ball has loosened again do they stand up again as if nothing had happened.
Fructose and sucrose for organ survival
This observation gave the scientists the idea of observing the almost blind and wrinkled rodents under low-oxygen conditions. They wanted to find out how the animals do this feat. After the observation phase, blood was taken from the animals and tissue samples were taken. It became apparent that the rodents released sugar in the blood during the phases of lack of oxygen. These consisted of fructose and sucrose. "So far, sucrose has only been known from plants," the researchers wrote in the study report. "Specific mechanisms lead the animals to use fruit sugar as an energy substitute," the researchers conclude. However, it is not yet known where the replacement sugar comes from.
Future means of survival after a heart attack or stroke
The scientists are now hoping that in the event of an acute lack of oxygen in humans, a means can be designed in the future to prevent undersupply of the organs. "We would like to protect patients from the effects of a lack of oxygen that can cause a heart attack or stroke within minutes," said Lewin.
In addition, it was shown that the animals have other, very unusual properties that do not exist in the animal world a second time. For example, a team of researchers led by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov had observed that a single occurrence of cancer was not evident in multi-year observations of large nude mole colonies. The reason for this is the special consistency of the cell cultures. This is more sticky and viscous than that of mice and also that of humans, the scientists report. (sb)