January 24, 2022 1:35 pm

Photosynthetic algae injected into tadpoles’ hearts supply their brains with oxygen

Frogs are able to breathe through gills, lungs and skin, depending on their stage of life, but a team from Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, reports in a new way .

Researchers have developed an amazing method that makes it possible bring oxygen to the tadpole bloodstream by injecting photosynthetic algae into their blood vessels.

The technique developed, featured in the magazine iScience of the group Cell Press, provided enough oxygen to effectively restore oxygen-deprived tadpole brain neurons, the authors note.

“The algae produced so much oxygen that they were able to bring the nerve cells back to life, so to speak,” he says. Hans Straka, lead author and researcher at the German University. “To many people it will sound like science fiction, but at the end of the day it is about the right combination of biological schemes and principles,” he adds.

The algae produced so much oxygen that they were able to bring nerve cells back to life, so to speak. To many people it will sound like science fiction, but at the end of the day it is about the right combination of biological schemes and principles

Hans Straka, lead author and researcher at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich

Combine plant physiology with neuroscience

Straka was studying oxygen consumption in the brains of tadpoles from african clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) when in a lunch conversation with a botanist he gave him the idea of ​​combining plant physiology with neuroscience: “Harness the power of photosynthesis to supply oxygen to nerve cells.”

The idea did not seem far-fetched. In nature, algae live harmoniously on sponges, corals, and anemones, providing them with oxygen and even nutrients. Why not in vertebrates like frogs?

The team injected green algae or cyanobacteria into the tadpoles’ hearts. With each beat, the algae moved through the blood vessels and reached the brain. When lighting these animals, both species of algae were pumping oxygen to nearby cells.

To explore this possibility, the team injected green algae (Chlamydomonas renhardtii) O cyanobacteria (Synechocystis) in the heart of tadpoles. With each heartbeat, the algae moved through the blood vessels and eventually reached the brain, turning the tadpole into a translucent and bright green. By illuminating these tadpoles, both species of algae pumped oxygen into nearby cells.

After distributing the algae in the brain, the researchers isolated the head of the tadpole and placed it in an oxygen bubble bath with essential nutrients that would preserve the functioning of the cells, which allowed monitor neural activity and oxygen levels.

As the scientists depleted the oxygen in the bathroom, the nerves stopped firing and fell silent. However, lighting the tadpole’s head resumed neuronal activity within 15 to 20 minutes, about two times faster than replenishing the oxygen bath without the algae.

The injected green algae (green) sit inside the blood vessels (magenta) like a string of pearls./ Özugur et al./iScience

Fast and efficient method

In addition, revived nerves they worked as well or even better than before oxygen depletion, showing that the technique was quick and effective.

“We have proven that the method works. It was surprisingly reliable and robust, and from my point of view, a beautiful approach, ”says Straka. “Working from the beginning does not really mean that it can be applied at the end, but it is the first step to start other studies.”

Although the authors believe their discovery could one day lead to new therapies for conditions induced by stroke or oxygen-deficient environments, such as underwater or at high altitude, they believe that algae are far from ready to enter our circulation. blood.

Although the authors believe that their discovery could one day lead to new therapies for conditions induced by stroke or oxygen-deficient environments, they believe that algae are far from ready to enter our bloodstream.

The team’s next step is to see if the injected algae can survive inside the tadpoles living under normal conditions, producing oxygen without eliciting an immune response that wreaks havoc on the animals.

Straka also thinks that his research may benefit other laboratories that work with isolated tissues or organoids. The introduction of oxygen-producing algae could help these tissues develop and increase their survival rates, potentially reducing the need to use live animals in such experiments.

“Must have new ideas and new concepts to explore; this is one of the ways to advance science, “says Straka, who concludes:” If you have an open mind and think about it, suddenly, you can see all the possibilities from an idea. “

Rights: Creative Commons.

Reference-www.agenciasinc.es

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