Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growth spurt? 'Catch-up' growth signals revealed

Date:
January 29, 2011
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Researchers have uncovered molecular signals that regulate catch-up growth -- the growth spurt that occurs when normal conditions are restored after a fetus, young animal or child has been ill, under stress or deprived of enough food or oxygen to grow properly.

University of Michigan researchers have uncovered molecular signals that regulate catch-up growth -- the growth spurt that occurs when normal conditions are restored after a fetus, young animal or child has been ill, under stress or deprived of enough food or oxygen to grow properly.

Related Articles


The results, published in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Development, could lead to better understanding of why babies who undergo catch-up growth are at higher risk in later life for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other health problems.

"Catch-up growth is a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom, from humans down to little fish and worms," said Cunming Duan, U-M professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology. "But biologists have known very little about the molecular signals that coordinate this phenomenon."

Duan and co-workers suspected that a group of hormones called insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) -- known to be important in normal growth and development and also implicated in cancer and aging -- might be involved. Like other peptide and protein hormones, IGFs work by binding to receptors on the cells they target. The binding then sets off a cascade of reactions that ultimately direct the cell to do something.

"Since we were dealing with a type of growth, it made sense to look at the main growth regulators," Duan said.

Also, in research published in 2010, Duan's group found that altering oxygen levels in muscle cells changed the chemical signal of IGF. Knowing that catch-up growth can be triggered by changing oxygen levels, the researchers reasoned that IGF might mediate the process.

Using zebrafish as a model system, Duan's group did a series of experiments. First, they simply monitored growth and IGF signaling in fish embryos grown in water in which the oxygen concentration was reduced for a time and then restored. As expected, growth was suppressed when oxygen was low, but the fish caught up with a growth spurt when oxygen was restored to normal levels. Interestingly, IGF signals changed in concert with oxygen levels.

Next the researchers repeated the low-oxygen, normal-oxygen experiment with a different twist: They blocked IGF signaling in the fish embryos, using either genetic methods or pharmacological inhibitors.

"We found that if you block IGF signaling, the animal cannot catch up," Duan said. "From this we learned that the IGF signal is not only changing, but that the change is really necessary for the animal to catch up."

Duan's group went on to investigate the specific biochemical pathways involved. They found that one, called the MAP kinase pathway, is critical for catch-up growth. However, it may not be the only pathway that figures in, and the specific pathway used may depend on circumstances.

"You can think of it like your route to work. Maybe you normally take I-94, but if it's blocked, you use other routes that you normally don't use," Duan said.

In future research, Duan's group wants to explore the long-term effects of changes in the IGF-MAP kinase pathway that are related to catch-up growth.

"If we find lasting changes, we may be able to figure out ways of intervening to reduce the risk of associated health problems that develop later in life," Duan said.

In addition to Duan, the paper's authors are postdoctoral fellow Hiroyasu Kamei, former postdoctoral fellow Yonghe Ding, former graduate student Shingo Kajimura, graduate student Michael Wells and former undergraduate student Peter Chiang.

Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the Japan Society for Promotion of Science Fellowship program.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Kamei, Y. Ding, S. Kajimura, M. Wells, P. Chiang, C. Duan. Role of IGF signaling in catch-up growth and accelerated temporal development in zebrafish embryos in response to oxygen availability. Development, 2011; 138 (4): 777 DOI: 10.1242/dev.056853

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Growth spurt? 'Catch-up' growth signals revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128095040.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2011, January 29). Growth spurt? 'Catch-up' growth signals revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128095040.htm
University of Michigan. "Growth spurt? 'Catch-up' growth signals revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128095040.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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