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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1991 Oct;69(10):1443-7.

A north-temperate migratory bird: a model for the fate of lipids during exercise of long duration.

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  • 1Vassar College, Department of Biology, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.


Changes in deposition and the utilization of lipids during one night of migratory activity (nocturnal physical activity) were investigated in dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) held in large outdoor aviaries. During vernal migration (May), captive Juncos were sampled at the beginning and conclusion of one night of nocturnal restlessness. Comparisons of variables were drawn with control samples collected from birds in March. Measurements included body weight, fat stored in subcutaneous depots (adiposity), adipose and muscle lipoprotein lipase activity, and fat cell lipolysis. During the migratory period, body weight and adiposity were increased over levels measured in the March birds (p less than 0.01). On the other hand, neither body weight nor adiposity were significantly altered as a result of nocturnal physical activity and no significant changes were observed in adipose lipoprotein lipase activity. Fat cell lipolysis was lower at the beginning than at the end of nocturnal physical activity while, the opposite was observed for muscle lipoprotein lipase activity (p less than 0.05). These results suggest that the amount of work of one night of nocturnal physical activity modifies both muscle lipoprotein lipase activity and fat cell lipolysis in an interrelated fashion. This phenomenon could act to direct a steady supply of fatty acids to the site of energy utilization, i.e., flight muscles.

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