organization:university of illinois at chicago

  • Naked Mole-Rats Take on Plant-like Role to Survive Oxygen Deprivation

    Metabolizing fructose to produce energy anaerobically through a specific metabolic pathway is a process that scientists previously thought was only used by plants. Not so, says new research. 

    Naked mole-rats can survive low-oxygen conditions that in all other mammals would normally result in brain cell death, by making a switch from a glucose-based system that depends on oxygen, to one where their brain cells start burning fructose.

    This is just the latest remarkable discovery about the naked #mole-rat —a cold-blooded mammal that lives decades longer than other rodents, rarely gets cancer, and doesn’t feel many types of pain,” study leader, Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a statement.

    For the study, published this week in Science, naked mole-rats were exposed to low oxygen levels in the lab, and researchers observed that large amounts of fructose was released into the bloodstream. Molecular fructose pumps, which are only found on cells of the intestine in all other mammals, transport the fructose into the naked mole-rats brain cells.

    Park has studied the interesting creature for 18 years and said: “The naked mole-rat has simply rearranged some basic building-blocks of metabolism to make it super-tolerant to low oxygen conditions.”

    The animals go into a state of suspended animation and can even live through 18 minutes of total oxygen deprivation. When they go into the suspended animation state, their breathing slows dramatically, as well as their heart rate, which drops from 200 to about 50 beats per minute. They are the only mammals known to employ this method for survival of oxygen deprivation.

    Once oxygen becomes available, they resume normal activity with no signs of lasting damage.

    Le retour de l’incroyable #rat-taupe
    (au moins la 3ème apparition ici)

  • The great melting | The Economist

    Voilà, ils ont osé faire la carte.

    Cities are becoming less racially segregated. For that, thank suburban sprawl, extortionate house prices and immigrants
    Jan 9th 2016 | CHICAGO AND NEWHAM | From the print edition

    OAK PARK, just outside Chicago, is known to architecture aficionados as the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, who built some fine houses there. This small suburban village also has another distinction: it is racially mixed. In the 1970s it vigorously enforced anti-segregation laws; today the “People’s Republic of Oak Park”, as it is sardonically known, is 64% white, 21% black and 7% Hispanic. “Oak Park stands out so much,” says Maria Krysan at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But it does not stand out quite as much as it used to.

    America remains a racially divided country, and Chicago is one of its most segregated cities. The south side is almost entirely black; northern districts such as Lincoln Park are golf-ball white; a western slice is heavily Hispanic. Yet the Chicago metropolis as a whole—the city plus suburban burghs like Oak Park—is gradually blending. For several reasons, that trend is almost certainly unstoppable.