Some Pig Brain functions Restored After Death

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.

 Nenad Sestan, Yale University Researcher

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.

 Zvonimir Vrselja, researcher at Yale University

Brain death

Cell death in the brain is generally considered a rapid and irreversible process. Cut off from oxygen and blood supply, the electrical activity of the brain and the signs of consciousness disappear in seconds, while energy reserves are exhausted in minutes.

Current knowledge suggests that a cascade of events at the molecular level is then activated, leading to widespread and irreversible degeneration.

The present work, however, reveals that small tissue samples always show signs of cell viability, even when the tissue is removed several hours after death.

This new knowledge is not of immediate medical interest, but the technique used could one day help doctors save the brain function of people who have had a stroke or test the effectiveness of therapies targeting cell recovery. after an injury.

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