Artificial hibernation/life-protective state induced by thiazoline-related innate fear odors

Tomohiko Matsuo, Tomoko Isosaka, Lijun Tang, Tomoyoshi Soga, Reiko Kobayakawa, Ko Kobayakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Innate fear intimately connects to the life preservation in crises, although this relationships is not fully understood. Here, we report that presentation of a supernormal innate fear inducer 2-methyl-2-thiazoline (2MT), but not learned fear stimuli, induced robust systemic hypothermia/hypometabolism and suppressed aerobic metabolism via phosphorylation of pyruvate dehydrogenase, thereby enabling long-term survival in a lethal hypoxic environment. These responses exerted potent therapeutic effects in cutaneous and cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury models. In contrast to hibernation, 2MT stimulation accelerated glucose uptake in the brain and suppressed oxygen saturation in the blood. Whole-brain mapping and chemogenetic activation revealed that the sensory representation of 2MT orchestrates physiological responses via brain stem Sp5/NST to midbrain PBN pathway. 2MT, as a supernormal stimulus of innate fear, induced exaggerated, latent life-protective effects in mice. If this system is preserved in humans, it may be utilized to give rise to a new field: “sensory medicine.”

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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