medresearch: Fish’s Use of Electricity Might Shed Light on…


Fish’s Use of
Electricity Might Shed Light on Human Illnesses

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Michigan State University

have learned that the Brienomyrus brachyistius fish, or baby whale, have developed a
unique bioelectric security system to navigate the waters without letting
predators know where they are. The researchers found that the electric pulses
generated by baby whales share a protein that also exists in the human heart
and muscles. This sheds light on how those same electrical pathways operate in
conditions like epilepsy and could lead to discoveries .

“Mutations in potassium channels that make them too
sensitive or not sensitive enough to electrical stimuli can lead to epilepsy or
cardiac and muscle diseases,” said Swapna Immani, PhD, first author of the
paper and a research associate in neuroscience and integrative biology at the
University of Texas at Austin. “So understanding what controls the sensitivity
of potassium channels to stimuli is important for health as well as a basic
understanding of ion channels.”


Funding: National
Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health

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