There’s one thing curious within the blood of black bears that enables them to hibernate for seven months a 12 months whereas nonetheless remaining match and wholesome.
Scientists aren’t certain what that one thing is, however a brand new examine has helped shut in on the thriller.
If we people tried to lie dormant for so long as a black bear, our muscular tissues would start losing away from the sheer lack of bodily exercise. However when a bear emerges from its den initially of spring, it stretches out a lean and powerful physique.
The creature’s muscle mass and power are largely maintained from the 12 months earlier than, regardless of little to no motion, not even to drink or eat, poop or pee.
For years now, scientists have been attempting to determine how this superpower works, and a brand new examine suggests the solutes in bear blood are key. They may even assist forestall human muscle from atrophying.
That may sound loopy at first, however when researchers in Japan took a serum of blood from seven hibernating bears and added it on to tissue cultures fabricated from human skeletal muscle cells, they seen a lift to the cells’ protein content material inside 24 hours.
On the similar time, there was a lower within the manufacturing of a regulatory protein that performs a important function within the shedding of unused muscular tissues.
These mobile adjustments, nevertheless, had been solely seen when hibernating blood was added. When blood was taken from energetic black bears within the summertime, the serum didn’t cease the pure technique of protein degradation in human skeletal muscle cells.
“Now we have indicated that ‘some issue’ current in hibernating bear serum might regulate protein metabolism in cultured human skeletal muscle cells and contribute to the upkeep of muscle mass,” concludes physiologist Mitsunori Miyazaki from Hiroshima College.
“Nevertheless, the identification of this ‘issue’ has not but been achieved.”
Related research have been achieved with black bear serum prior to now, however none has managed to pinpoint the precise ‘issue’ driving the superpower. In 2018, serum from hibernating bears produced a discount in protein turnover in human skeletal muscular tissue.
An analogous impact has additionally been proven in skeletal muscle tissue from rats.
For now, that is about all we all know, however Miyazaki is set to maintain looking for solutions.
“By figuring out this ‘issue’ in hibernating bear serum and clarifying the unexplored mechanism behind ‘muscular tissues that don’t weaken even with out use’ in hibernating animals, it’s doable to develop efficient rehabilitation methods in people and stop changing into bedridden sooner or later,” he says.
The examine was revealed in PLOS One.