Date: 29 Sep 2006

Hypometabolic induced state: a potential tool in biomedicine and space exploration

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This paper will first review the issue of hypometabolism in mammals with a focus on the strategies these animals evolved to cope with life challenge in hostile environments (e.g., cold weather and/or shortage of food). The different types of natural hypometabolism (hibernation, torpor, winter sleep) will be briefly described as well as major adaptations in body temperature, and energy and cell metabolism. In the second part of this review the issue of inducing a hypometabolic state in mammals will be afforded with special attention paid to changes in body temperature and metabolism, regulation of gene expression and the possible role of hibernation inducing factors. Finally, an overview of the potential of inducing a hypometabolic state in the human as related to the broad field of biomedicine will be given.