Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: New Study Suggests Ways To Control Fever-induced Seizures

Date:
August 27, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Scientists show that genetic variation in the foraging gene results in different tolerance for heat stress and demonstrate how the use of specific drugs can replicate this effect in fruit flies and locusts. While the findings are at an early stage, the researchers suggest that they could lead to ways to rapidly protect the brain from extremely high fevers in mammals, including humans.

Locust.
Credit: Gary Armstrong

When your body cranks up the heat, it's a sign that something's wrong--and a fever is designed to help fight off the infection. But turning up the temperature can have a down side: in about one in 25 infants or small children, high fever can trigger fever-induced (febrile) seizures. While the seizures themselves are generally harmless, a prolonged fever resulting from infection or heatstroke of over 108 °F (42 °C) can eventually lead to respiratory distress, cognitive dysfunction, brain damage or death.

New research by scientists at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Queen's University has shown that genetic variation in the foraging gene results in different tolerance for heat stress, and demonstrates how the use of specific drugs can replicate this effect in fruit flies and locusts. While the findings are at an early stage, the researchers suggest that since this genetic pathway is found in other organisms, it could lead to ways to rapidly protect the brain from extremely high fevers in mammals, including humans.

"Our research suggests that manipulation of a single gene or genetic pathway will be sufficient to rapidly protect the nervous system from damage due to extreme heat stress," says senior researcher, Professor Marla B. Sokolowski, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Genetics.

In their research, post-doctoral fellow Ken Dawson-Scully and Sokolowski demonstrate that the foraging gene, responsible for a protein called PKG, protects against heat-induced neural failure in fruit flies and locusts. When they increased the temperature by 5°C per minute (starting from 22°C and rising to 42°C), they found that fruit flies with a lower level of PKG experienced neural failure at much higher temperatures than those with higher levels of PKG.

Using drugs that interact with the PKG molecule, the researchers showed it is possible to induce an extremely rapid protection of neural function during heat stress. Queen's biologists Gary Armstrong and Mel Robertson exposed locusts to increasing heat while monitoring the neural circuit that controls breathing. At approximately 30ÚC (about three minutes before expected neural failure), the researchers injected the locusts with a PKG inhibitor. Compared to locusts who received a placebo injection, the treated locusts showed a rapid and significant protection of their neural circuitry.

"During heat trauma to the brain, there exists a window of opportunity between the time of occurrence of neural dysfunction and eventual brain damage or death," says Dawson-Scully. "Manipulation of the PKG pathway during this period should increase an individual's chance of survival."

The research was supported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The new study appears in the August 22 issue of the journal PLoS One.

Citation: Dawson-Scully K, Armstrong GAB, Kent C, Robertson RM, Sokolowski MB (2007) Natural Variation in the Thermotolerance of Neural Function and Behavior due to a cGMP-Dependent Protein Kinase. PLoS One 2(8): e773. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000773


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: New Study Suggests Ways To Control Fever-induced Seizures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070822081916.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, August 27). Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: New Study Suggests Ways To Control Fever-induced Seizures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070822081916.htm
Public Library of Science. "Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: New Study Suggests Ways To Control Fever-induced Seizures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070822081916.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) — The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins