Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine may have identified a molecule that could reduce an individual's sensitivity to heat and prevent heat stroke, according to a study published January 8 in Nature Medicine.
Lab mouse. Photo: Rama, CeCILL
Susan Hamilton, chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, leads a team at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, that studies the ryanodine receptor 1(RyR1) that is implicated in a life-threatening disorder called malignant hyperthermia.
The Baylor scientists said they have demonstrated that AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside), an experimental therapeutic compound initially found by Salk Institute researchers to slow muscle fatigue and improve muscle endurance in sedentary mice, may also protect mice with a genetic predisposition to heat stroke.
The Baylor team suggest AICAR could be an interventional therapy for people who carry the RyR1 mutation that makes them susceptible to heat-induced sudden death.
"When we gave AICAR to the (heat-sensitive) mice, it was 100 percent effective in preventing heat-induced deaths, even when we gave it no more than 10 minutes before the activity," said Hamilton.
The Baylor study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America, the Swedish Research Council and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología of Mexico.