Some functions of the pig brain were restored ten hours after their death, show the work of American scientists.
Neuroscientist Nenad Sestan and his colleagues at Yale University believe that the result of their research challenges the widespread belief that the irreversible nature of the cessation of certain brain functions after death.
It could also provide a new way of designing the study of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Activity, but not electric
The brains of 32 pigs were collected at a meat processing plant four hours after their deaths.
They were then connected to a pump system that reproduced their pulse for six hours. This system injected into the organs a specially designed fluid containing synthetic blood carrying oxygen and drugs.
The researchers found, ten hours after the death of the animals, that several basic cellular functions, which were thought to have stopped some time after the cessation of blood flow and oxygen supply, were restored.
The researchers observed:
- a reduction in the death of brain cells;
- a restoration of the blood vessels;
- some brain activity
- a normal response to medication
The intact brain of a large mammal retains a previously underestimated ability to restore circulation and certain molecular and cellular activities several hours after circulatory arrest.
The authors of this work published in the journal Nature did not, however, observe electrical signals usually associated with normal brain function.
At no time have we observed any electrical activity associated with perception or consciousness. Clinically, it’s not a living brain, but a cell-active brain.
Tony Renney started working for Rise Media in 2017. Tony grew up in a small town in the Midwest. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. Tony has been a proud New Yorker for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for NPR and the Huffington Post.