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Am J Physiol. 1999 May;276(5):E896-906. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1999.276.5.E896.

Metabolic adjustments during daily torpor in the Djungarian hamster.

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Department of Biology, Philipps-University, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


Djungarian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) acclimated to a short photoperiod (8:16-h light-dark cycle) display spontaneous daily torpor with ad libitum food availability. The time course of body temperature (Tb), metabolic rate, respiratory quotient (RQ), and substrate and enzyme changes was measured during entrance into torpor and in deep torpor. RQ, blood glucose, and serum lipids are high during the first hours of torpor but then gradually decline, suggesting that glucose is the primary fuel during the first hours of torpor, with a gradual change to lipid utilization. No major changes in enzyme activities were observed during torpor except for inactivation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex in liver, brown adipose tissue, and heart muscle. PDH inactivation closely correlates with the reduction of total metabolic rate, whereas in brain, kidney, diaphragm, and skeletal muscle, PDH activity was maintained at the initial level. These findings suggest inhibition of carbohydrate oxidation in heart, brown adipose tissue, and liver during entrance into daily torpor.

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