Studies in Caenorhabditis elegans reveal factors that protect against reperfusion injury, report scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and colleagues (Ma DK et al. Science. doi:10.1126/science.1235753 [published online June 27, 2013]). Such injury occurs when blood flow returns to tissues deprived of oxygen during events such as heart attack or stroke.
Earlier work had found that exposure to chronic low oxygen levels or direct inhibition of the EGLN2 protein protects mammals from reperfusion injury. Similarly, inactivating the worm version of EGLN2 (called EGL-9) blocks a wiggling response that worms have to reoxygenation.
Hampton T. Worm Findings May Offer Clues to Blocking Reperfusion Injury. JAMA. 2013;310(5):470. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.178404