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Tuesday, January 30 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
SYMPOSIA-12: Insights Relative to Black Bear Physiology and Potential Implications for Human Medicine

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AUTHORS. Paul A. Iaizzo, PhD, FHRS, University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery

ABSTRACT. Hibernating (or overwintering) American black bears in Minnesota may remain in winter dens for 4-6 months, a period during which their core body temperatures are mildly hypothermic (34-36°C), and they do not eat, they drink very little, and rarely urinate or defecate. Yet, these overwintering animals conserve both skeletal and cardiac muscle form and function, thus retaining the ability to respond to external threats. Bears rely heavily on fat as an energy source during hibernation. Bears also elicit a profound modulation of their heart rates, resulting in the lowest transient heart rates recorded for relatively normothermic land mammals (sinus pauses up to 30 sec). Additionally, our lab continues to study the role of upregulated circulating hormones, fatty acids, and ursodeoxycholic acid associated with bear hibernation on minimizing ischemic damage to tissues. We consider that the unique hibernating abilities of American black bears may provide novel translational insights regarding how to prevent ischemic damage, promote healing, and minimize muscle loss associated with ICU imobilization, mild hypothermia (either whole body or limb), and/or prolonged nutritional deprivation.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 3:40pm - 4:00pm CST