Cool nerve cells help mice beat heat | Science News

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Cool nerve cells help mice beat heat

Scientists identify sensors in part of hypothalamus key to regulating body temperature

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2:11pm, August 25, 2016
IR image of mouse

HEAT DUMP  In an effort to lower its body temperature, a mouse’s tail heats up (right) half an hour after a certain group of nerve cells are turned on (before, shown left). 

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Scientists have identified the “refrigerator” nerve cells that hum along in the brains of mice and keep the body cool. These cells kick on to drastically cool mice’s bodies and may prevent high fevers, scientists report online August 25 in Science.

The results “are totally new and very important,” says physiologist Andrej Romanovsky of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. "The implications are far-reaching." By illuminating how bodies stay at the right temperature, the discovery may offer insights into the relationship between body temperature and metabolism.  

Scientists had good reasons to think that nerve cells controlling body temperature are tucked into the hypothalamus, a small patch of neural tissue in the middle of the brain. Temperature fluctuations in a part of the hypothalamus

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