I know that turtle brains, particularly those of individual species that hibernate and burrow are particularly resilient to hypoxia and any tissue damage secondary to a hypoxic event.

What are the known molecular mechanisms behind this resiliency? Does it have to do with the ability of their blood to store/release oxygen over extended periods, or is it molecular factors in the neural tissue that protect it from insult?


There is a bunch of literature on the topic. A good starting point is probably a short description with lots of references in this thesis (page 8), not to talk about other articles, which pop up in google scholar: 1, 2.

The mechanisms are multifaceted and involve principally decrease in oxygen and ATP demands: reduced neuronal activity, lower density of ion channels (but hyper-polarization of the membranes) and so on. Concerning blood flow: "Brain blood flow was continued or increased, and oxygen and creatine phosphate (PCr) stores offered some immediate protection. As PCr declined, turtle brain became increasingly reliant upon anaerobic glycolysis."

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.