Washington - American scientists have for the first time eased mice in and out of hibernation, a possible procedure for treating critically ill and injured humans, said a study published Friday.
Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, exposed the mice to high levels of hydrogen sulfide to put them into hibernation, suspending most metabolic activity, Science magazine said.
Later the mice were revived showing no significant ill effects, said the scientists.
"We are, in essence, temporarily converting mice from warm-blooded to cold-blooded creatures, which is exactly the same thing that happens naturally when mammals hibernate," said lead investigator Mark Roth.
"We think this may be a latent ability that all mammals have - potentially even humans - and we're just harnessing it and turning it on and off, inducing a state of hibernation on demand," said Roth.