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Title: The effect of metabolic fuel availability on thermoregulation and torpor in a marsupial hibernator
Contributor(s): Westman, Wendy (author); Geiser, Fritz  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1007/s00360-003-0388-y
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Abstract: The physiological signal for torpor initiation appears to be related to fuel availability. Studies on metabolic fuel inhibition in placental heterotherms show that glucose deprivation via the inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) initiates a torpor-like state, whereas fatty acid deprivation via mercaptoacetate (MA) does not. As previous studies using inhibitors were limited to quantifying body temperature in placentals, we investigated whether inhibition of glucose or fatty acids for cellular oxidation induces torpor in the marsupial hibernator 'Cercartetus nanus', and how the response of metabolic rate is related to body temperature. Glucoprivation initiated a torpor-like state in 'C. nanus', but animals had much higher minimum body temperatures and metabolic rates than those of torpid food-deprived animals and arousal rates were slower. Moreover, 2DG-treated animals were thermoregulating at ambient temperatures of 20 and 12°C, whereas food-deprived torpid animals were thermo-conforming. We suggest that glucoprivation reduces the hypothalamic body temperature set point, but only by about 8°C rather than the approximately 28°C during natural torpor. Reduced fatty acid availability via MA also induced a torpor-like state in some 'C. nanus', with physiological variables that did not differ from those of torpid food-deprived animals. We conclude that reduced glucose availability forms only part of the physiological trigger for torpor initiation in 'C. nanus'. Reduced fatty acid availability, unlike for placental heterotherms, may be an important cue for torpor initiation in 'C. nanus', perhaps because marsupials lack functional brown adipose tissue
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology, 174(1), p. 49-57
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Place of Publication: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany
ISSN: 0174-1578
Field of Research (FOR): 060604 Comparative Physiology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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