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Physiology:  Postprandial cardiac hypertrophy in pythons.

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  • Johnnie Bremholm Andersen
  • Bryan C. Rourke, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach, California 90840, United States
  • Vincent J. Caiozzo, Department of Orthopaedics, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, United States
  • Albert F. Bennett, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, United States
  • James W. Hicks, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, United States
Oxygen consumption by carnivorous reptiles increases enormously after they have eaten a large meal in order to meet metabolic demands, and this places an extra load on the cardiovascular system. Here we show that there is an extraordinarily rapid 40% increase in ventricular muscle mass in Burmese pythons (Python molurus) a mere 48 hours after feeding, which results from increased gene expression of muscle-contractile proteins. As this fully reversible hypertrophy occurs naturally, it could provide a useful model for investigating the mechanisms that lead to cardiac growth in other animals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature
Volume434
Pages (from-to)37-38
Number of pages2
ISSN0028-0836
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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