Hypothermic neuroprotections in the brain of an echolocation bat, Hipposideros terasensis
The present study aimed to investigate how bats protect their brain in a hypothermic situation. Formosan leaf-nosed bats (Hipposideros terasensis) were used in this study and treated under three conditions: room temperature (25±1°C), low temperature (4±1°C), and hibernation. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in the blood and apoptosis-related proteins in the brain tissue were assessed and then compared among those bats under three conditions. Our results showed that the blood ROS levels of bats treated under conditions of low temperature and hibernation were significantly reduced compared with bats treated under the condition of room temperature. Both immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting expressions of hypoxia, inflammation, and apoptosis-related proteins in the brain tissue of bats treated under the condition of hibernation were significantly reduced compared with those bats treated under conditions of room temperature and low temperature. Thus, we suggested that bats can protect the brain in cold environment by reducing blood ROS levels and decreasing expressions of hypoxia, inflammation, and apoptosis-related proteins in the brain. Possible protection mechanisms involved in hypothermic adaptations need to be further clarified.