Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why people get cold feet

Date:
July 31, 2012
Source:
American Physiological Society (APS)
Summary:
Physiologists have identified the biological mechanism that could be responsible for cold feet, the bane of existence for singles and couples alike.

Cold feet -- those chilly appendages that plague many people in the winter and an unlucky few all year round -- can be the bane of existence for singles and couples alike. In a new study, scientists led by Selvi C. Jeyaraj of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital have identified a biological mechanism that may be responsible for icy extremities: an interaction between a series of molecules and receptors on smooth muscle cells that line the skin's tiny blood vessels.

Related Articles


The new research, along with an accompanying editorial by Martin C. Michel of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and Paul A. Insel of the University of California at San Diego, suggest new contributors to this near-universal problem and potential targets to treat more serious problems that affect blood vessels in the cold, such as in Raynaud's disease.

The article appears in the American Journal of Physiology -- Cell Physiology.

Methodology

Jeyaraj and her colleagues studied smooth muscle cells derived from tiny blood vessels harvested from human skin biopsies and similar cells from mouse tail arteries. These cells contain receptors known as α2C-AR, which cause constriction in their associated blood vessels and shut off blood flow under chilly conditions to conserve heat. The scientists also worked with different cells, called HEK cells, that do not normally express α2C-AR but that can be modified to do so. Also studied were cells taken from tail arteries of mice genetically altered to no longer express a protein called Rap1A, which the authors hypothesized would interact with α2C-AR.

Results

The researchers found that when they dosed cells that expressed α2C-AR with chemicals that activate Rap1A, either directly or through means that involve another protein called Epac, the cells drew from pools of α2C-AR near the cell's nucleus and moved these receptors to the cell surface. The series of events involved rearrangment of the cell's internal "skeleton," fibers that determine its shape and can transport items from one area of a cell to another.

Importance of the Findings and What Part of Cell Physiology Gets 'The Rap' Authors of the study and the accompanying editorial suggest that the series of events and biological interactions they identified could be responsible for the mechanism the body uses to limit blood supply to the skin in cold temperatures, which conserves more blood flow -- and hence, warmth -- for the body's internal organs. The findings may provide clues to where dysfunction occurs in disorders in which blood flow is erroneously cut off, such as Raynaud's disease. In this condition, sufferers lose circulation to the fingers, toes, and occasionally other areas when the body overreacts to cold temperatures. Raynaud's can sometimes be serious, leading to atrophy of skin and muscle, ulceration and rarely to ischemic gangrene. On a lighter note, the results also provide a possible explanation for the age-old problem of cold feet.

"Thus, if your partner complains again about your cold feet," the editorial authors write, "you have some new excuses: 'It's Epac's fault!' or 'Rap1A should get the rap!'"

Study Team In addition to Selvi C. Jeyaraj, the study team also includes Nicholas T. Unger and N. Paul El-Dahdah of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Ali H. Eid of Qatar University, Srabani Mitra of Ohio State University, Lawrence A. Quilliam of Indiana University School of Medicine, Nicholas A. Flavahan of Johns Hopkins University, and Maqsood A. Chotani of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and Ohio State University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society (APS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. C. Jeyaraj, N. T. Unger, A. H. Eid, S. Mitra, N. P. El-Dahdah, L. A. Quilliam, N. A. Flavahan, M. A. Chotani. Cyclic AMP-Rap1A Signaling Activates RhoA to Induce 2C-Adrenoceptor Translocation to the Cell Surface of Microvascular Smooth Muscle Cells. AJP: Cell Physiology, 2012; DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00461.2011

Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society (APS). "Why people get cold feet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731151711.htm>.
American Physiological Society (APS). (2012, July 31). Why people get cold feet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731151711.htm
American Physiological Society (APS). "Why people get cold feet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120731151711.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
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