Tags: cold | feet | cause | treatment

Getting to the Bottom of Cold Feet

Thursday, 02 August 2012 11:56 AM

Got cold feet? Many couples, and single people too, deal with unusually frosty toes in the winter or even year-round – a condition that can be particularly bothersome at bedtime. But scientists have identified a biological mechanism for cold feet – findings that could point the way for new treatments.
A team of scientists at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital have linked the condition to the activity of smooth muscle cells that line the skin's tiny blood vessels.
The findings, reported by lead researcher Selvi C. Jeyaraj in the American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology, could help clinicians identify patients with cold feet – by diagnosing serious problems that affect blood vessels in the cold, such as in Raynaud's disease. The discovery may also lead to promising new therapies.
To reach their conclusions, Jeyaraj and her colleagues studied smooth muscle cells derived from tiny blood vessels from human skin biopsies and similar cells from mouse arteries. They found the cells contain receptors that cause constriction in blood vessels and shut off blood flow under chilly conditions to conserve heat and warmth for the body’s internal organs. But the researchers found they could affect that process by treating those cells with certain chemicals.
The findings may provide clues to disorders in which blood flow is erroneously cut off, such as Raynaud's disease, which causes sufferers to lose circulation to the fingers, toes, and other areas when the body overreacts to cold temperatures.

© HealthDay

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Scientists have identified what causes cold feet – findings that could point the way for new treatments.
Thursday, 02 August 2012 11:56 AM
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