Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Tag Archive for ‘immune’

Polar bears summering on land exposed to more pathogens

Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) living near the southern Beaufort Sea are spending more time on land during the summer months than in years past as a result of climate change and melting sea ice. Researchers wanted to know whether bears that spent more time on land were exposed to more pathogens compared to those who spent more time on sea ice. Their results, published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, showed […]

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Elasmobranchs may hold clues for treating blood disorders

As you may already know, bone marrow contains cells that specialize in both bone as well as blood maintenance. Stem cells destined to become white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are called hematopoietic stem cells (aka: HSCs). CXCL12 is a special ligand that helps keep HSCs in the bone marrow by acting as a chemical attractant for the chemokine receptor C-X-C (CXCR4) found on HSCs. Some researchers are […]

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Seals, seals and more seals

Several of the posters and talks at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego focused on Weddell Seals. They are not only cute, they are really interesting physiologically. Emma Weitzner, a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Heather Liwanag, presented a poster on Weddell seals, which are studied as models of the physiology of diving. Emma and her team recorded diving behavior and collected blood samples from 1 week-old […]

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Making antibodies faster

Camelids (think llamas, alpacas and of course, camels) produce rather special antibodies that are highly sought after for research and biomedical applications. Nanobodies are small fragments of camelid antibodies that retain the ability to identify specific proteins. Because they are so small, they can bind to segments of proteins that intact or larger antibodies are unable to contact. This is what makes them attractive candidates in the search for new […]

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“Shirley Temple” protein found in platypus milk may help fight drug-resistant bacteria

Platypuses are rather bizarre mammals. For one, they lay eggs and although they feed their young milk, they sweat this milk from glands on their belly. Because the young lap up the milk and they live in burrows, they are exposed to microbes at a very young age. Like many mammals, platypus milk has antibiotic properties to help protect the young. However, the antibiotic protein found in platypus milk appears […]

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Tapeworms treat IBD?

Okay, I realize this is not a comparative physiology topic. But after reading this article, I just had to share it. A new study published in American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology presented data suggesting that parasitic worms may help treat or even prevent inflammatory bowl disease (IBD) in children. IBD is a condition characterized by inflammation in the gut that can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea […]

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