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    Home > Biochemistry News > Biotechnology News > Rare reversible cerebral atrophy

    Rare reversible cerebral atrophy

    • Last Update: 2022-11-14
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    The researchers discovered another mammal with a shrunken brain

    European moles face an existential crisis
    in harsh winters.
    Their mammalian metabolism requires more food
    than in the coldest months.
    Instead of coping with seasonal challenges by migrating or hibernation, the moles came up with an unexpected energy-saving strategy: shrinking their brains

    In a recent study, a team at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior, led by Dina Dechmann, found that the brains of European moles contract 11 percent by winter and back 4 percent
    by summer.
    They are a new mammal known for
    reversibly contracting the brain through a process known as the Denier phenomenon.

    The European mole rat is the newest known mammal, and its brain contracts
    reversibly until winter.

    However, the study isn't just adding a bizarre species to animals with shrunken brains; It delves into the evolutionary mystery
    of what drove them down this dangerous path.
    When the researchers compared moles from different regions, they found that Denard's phenomenon was caused by a cold environment, not just a lack of food
    Reducing brain tissue helps animals use less energy, thus fending off the cold

    This phenomenon was first described in the skulls of shrews, which are smaller in winter and larger
    in summer.
    Dechmann and colleagues reported the first evidence in 2018 that these atypical changes in the shrew skull occur throughout a person's life
    Dechmann and his colleagues have shown that the Dehnel phenomenon occurs in
    stoats and weasels.
    What these mammals have in common is that their lifestyle keeps them on the edge of vitality
    The skull of the European mole shrinks before winter and regrows in the spring, a process known as the Denel phenomenon

    Dechmann said: "They have an extremely high metabolism and are active
    all year round in cold climates.
    Their tiny bodies are like turbocharged Porsche engines that can drain energy
    in hours.

    For scientists, it's clear that shrinking energy-consuming tissues, such as the brain, allows animals to reduce their energy needs
    "We know that the phenomenon of De Neer has helped these animals survive tough times
    But we still don't know what the real pressure points driving this process are, and what the exact environmental triggers are

    Now, the team is answering this question
    by studying a new mammal with extreme metabolism.
    By measuring skulls from the museum's collection, the researchers recorded the changes of two species of
    mole—the European mole and the Spanish mole—over season.
    They found that the skull of the European mole shrank 11 percent in November and regenerated 4 percent in the spring, but the Spanish mole's skull remained unchanged throughout the year

    Because different species live in vastly different climates, researchers can determine that weather, rather than food availability, is responsible for the brain changes
    "If it's just a matter of food, then we should see European moles shrink in winter when food shortages occur, and Spanish moles shrink
    when summer heat leads to food shortages," Dechmann said.

    The findings not only answer evolutionary questions, but also provide insights
    into how our bodies regenerate after suffering severe damage.
    Dechmann said: "These three distantly related mammals can contract and regenerate bone and brain tissue, which has great implications
    for the study of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and osteoporosis.
    The more mammals we discover through Denard, the more their biological insights are relevant to other mammals, and possibly even to us humans


    Winter conditions, not resource availability alone, may drive reversible seasonal skull size changes in moles


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