Study links hypoxia and inflammation in many diseases

Feb 18, 2011

Yet some athletes deliberately train at high altitude, with less oxygen, so they can perform better. Their bodies adapt to the reduced oxygen.

Now a doctor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has explored the relationship between lack of oxygen, called , and the inflammation that can injure or kill some patients who undergo surgery. In a , for example, the surgery and anesthesiology can go perfectly yet the new liver will fail because of hypoxia.

"Understanding how hypoxia is linked to inflammation may help save lives of people who have survived a major surgery only to be faced with potential harm to major organs," says Holger K. Eltzschig, MD, PhD.

Eltzschig's exploration of the relationship between hypoxia and was published Feb. 17 in the . His work was supported by more than $1 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Those high-altitude athletes figured into the research. How do their bodies adapt to low levels of oxygen? And how can that information help patients?

The answer appears to lie at the molecular level. The body can signal a helpful response to deal with low . To do so it uses what's called hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF). This is a protein that sends complex signals to help the body defend itself.

Eltzschig says that research now should focus on understanding more about the way these signals function.

"By focusing on the the body uses to battle hypoxia, we may be able help patients who undergo organ transplants, who suffer from infections or who have cancer," says Eltzschig, a professor of anesthesiology, medicine, cell biology and immunology.

"We know the body can do this. Our research goal now is to find out exactly how."

Explore further: Saudi reports new MERS death, infections in Jeddah

Provided by University of Colorado Denver

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Thyroid disease risk varies among blacks, Asians, and whites

17 hours ago

An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites, according to a study in the April ...

The key to easy asthma diagnosis is in the blood

19 hours ago

Using just a single drop of blood, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Melting during cooling period

(Phys.org) —A University of Maine research team says stratification of the North Atlantic Ocean contributed to summer warming and glacial melting in Scotland during the period recognized for abrupt cooling ...