Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Archive for February 2023

Now we know how life underground reduces metabolism

…at least for mole-rats. African mole-rats live in dark underground dwellings where oxygen and food are scarce, and humidity and temperatures are high. These animals have low metabolic rates and body temperatures uniquely adapted to their life underground. Metabolism is controlled in part by thyroid hormones. To understand the role of thyroid hormone in mole-rats, researchers examined the thyroid gland and hormones in naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) as well as […]

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Protecting oil palms and owls with cholecalciferol

Wild rodent infestations can destroy crops and pose many risks to public health. According to the CDC, they are hosts to many diseases including Hantavirus, Monkeypox, Salmonella, Hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Leptospirosis, Arenavirus, Sylvatic Typhus, and Tularemia. Wild rodents may also indirectly spread diseases to humans and other animals through infected ticks, mites, mosquitoes, and fleas that feast on them. Such indirect illnesses include Lyme disease, Plague, Typhus, Colorado Tick […]

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Keeping it cool when it gets hot

Human thermoregulation in a warm environment Thermoregulation is the ability for an organism to control body temperature within a specified physiological range even when environmental temperatures vary. A recent article published in Physiological Reviews explored thermoregulation in humans and how various factors such as age, body shape, adaptation, and biological sex impact a person’s ability to maintain body temperature. They also explored how various diseases such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, […]

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The biological importance of carbonic anhydrase enzyme

Carbonic anhydrase is an important enzyme that regulates the acid-base balance of an organism. In fact, carbonic anhydrase (CA) is so important to homeostasis, it is found in all living organisms studied to date – from microorganisms (like bacteria) to mammals. As the name implies, this enzyme is responsible for catalyzing the hydration of carbon dioxide, which is a reversible process (see figure above). In other words, it speeds up […]

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