When a person has heat stroke, the body reacts in a similar way as it would for a general inflammation caused by a systemic infection, for example. The person's body temperature rises, producing a systemic inflammation and disseminated intravascular coagulation, which leads to the failure of multiple organs, which in many cases leads to death.
The main finding of the researchers from the Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica and University Hospital Virgen de la Arrixaca in Murcia was the identification of a protein, PARP-1 (poly ADP-ribose polymerase), in the physiopathology of heat stroke. The researchers subjected two groups of mice to a temperature of 42 ºC for a period of 45 minutes. One group of normal mice served as the control, while the other group of mice was inoculated with a PARP-1 inhibitor. The body temperature of both groups was then measured, as well as inflammatory markers and protein levels. With this, the researchers were able to show for the first time that the inhibition of the action of this protein produces a higher tolerance to ambient heat, capable of attenuating the effects of heat stroke and thus at the same time capable of diminishing the mortality associated with this cause.
The results of this research open an important door to the research towards a promising therapeutic method, which has not existed until now, but which is basic for those people threatened by a sudden increase in ambient temperature. High-temperature situations, such as those experienced in 2003, could be repeated in the future. This increase in mortality primarily affected people older than 70 years.
MEDICA.de; Source: Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica