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: Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient

Provided by University of Colorado Denver

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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

2 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

3 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

5 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

9 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

User comments : 0