Gene iden­ti­fied as crit­i­cal to low-oxy­gen tol­er­ance

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Re­searchers have iden­ti­fied a gene that helps peo­ple tol­er­ate lowoxygen con­di­tions, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished Mon­day, open­ing the way for new treat­ments for heart fail­ure and re­lated con­di­tions.

“This is the first demon­stra­tion that a gene in­volved in high al­ti­tude adap­ta­tion is crit­i­cal in pro­tect­ing car­diac func­tion in mod­er­ate to se- vere hy­poxia at sea level,” said lead au­thor Gabriel Had­dad, chair of the Depart­ment of Pe­di­atrics at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Diego.

The re­searchers iden­ti­fied a gene they be­lieve may help Ethiopi­ans who have lived at high al­ti­tudes, where oxy­gen lev­els are rel­a­tively low, for thou­sands of years. That gene, EDNRB, en­codes a pro­tein that is be­lieved to help blood ves­sels di­late.

For this study, re­searchers mon­i­tored the rel­a­tive per­for­mance un­der hy­poxic con­di­tions of mice with nor­mal lev­els of EDNRB and those with low lev­els. Mice with low lev­els of EDNRB were bet­ter able to main­tain nor­mal heart rhythms, blood pres­sure and oxy­gen flow to vi­tal or­gans, even when oxy­gen was be­low lev­els found at the sum­mit of Mount Ever­est.

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