Wednesday, March 02, 2005

287: Postprandial cardiac hypertrophy in pythons

Physiology: Postprandial cardiac hypertrophy in pythons:

Oxygen consumption by carnivorous reptiles increases enormously after they have eaten a large meal in order to meet metabolic demands, and this places an extra load on the cardiovascular system. Here we show that there is an extraordinarily rapid 40% increase in ventricular muscle mass in Burmese pythons (Python molurus) a mere 48 hours after feeding, which results from increased gene expression of muscle-contractile proteins. As this fully reversible hypertrophy occurs naturally, it could provide a useful model for investigating the mechanisms that lead to cardiac growth in other animals.
Understanding rapid heart grown in pythons could help heal heart defects in humans. Evolution and common descent at work.