Hagfish are slimy bottom-dwellers that live off the carcasses of dead sea creatures and thrive in deep waters where oxygen is hard to come by.
Hagfish are slimy bottom-dwellers that live off the carcasses of dead sea creatures and thrive in deep waters where oxygen is hard to come by. In fact, their hearts can keep on beating for 36 hours without any oxygen, making hagfish a champion among anoxia-tolerant fish.
A human heart, by contrast, becomes permanently damaged after just a few minutes without oxygen.
Now, University of Guelph research has uncovered clues as to how hagfish keep their hearts pumping even when they’ve run out oxygen. By unravelling the mysteries of the hagfish heart, this work could provide new ideas on how to protect the human heart when oxygen delivery is impaired, such as during a heart attack.
“We want to understand how these fish hearts can work for so long without oxygen because this could lead to innovative strategies for preserving human cardiac tissue during myocardial infarction or heart transplant,” said Prof. Todd Gillis, who led this study along with recent MSc graduate Lauren Gatrell.
Continue reading at University of Guelph.
Image via University of Guelph.