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Rutgers study: Worms may shed light on human ability to handle chronic stress
Date:8/15/2013

tion and high temperature and the worm transforms into an alternative larval stage known as the dauer that becomes so stress-resistant it can survive almost anything, including the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 of which they were the only living things to survive.

"These worms that normally have a short life cycle turn into super worms when they go into the dauer stage and can live for months, although they are no longer able to reproduce," said Barr.

What is so interesting to Barr is that when a perceived threat is over, these tiny creatures and their IL2 neurons transform back to a normal lifespan and reproductive state like nothing had ever happened. Under a microscope, the complicated looking tree-like connectors that receive information are pruned back and the worm appears as it did before the trauma occurred.

This type of neural reaction differs in humans who can suffer from extreme anxiety months or even years after the traumatic event even though they are no longer in a threatening situation.

The ultimate goal, Barr says, is to determine how and why the nervous system responds to stress. By identifying molecular pathways that regulate neuronal remodeling, scientists may apply this knowledge to develop future therapeutics.


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Contact: Robin Lally
rlally@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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