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Physiol Biochem Zool. 2001 May-Jun;74(3):390-7.

Aerobic capacity of frog skeletal muscle during hibernation.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, England.


Frogs submerged at 3 degrees C in hypoxic water (Po2=60 mmHg) depress their metabolic rate to 25% of that seen in control animals with access to air. The hypometabolic state of the skeletal muscle in such cold-submerged frogs is thought to be the most important contributor to the overall metabolic depression. The aim of this study was to determine whether the aerobic capacity of frog skeletal muscle became altered during 1-4 mo of hibernation to match the reduction in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) demand. To this end, the activities of key mitochondrial enzymes were measured in the skeletal muscle and in isolated mitochondria of frogs at different stages during hibernation. We also measured the activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as an indicator of glycolytic capacity. The activities of cytochrome c oxidase, citrate synthase, and LDH were significantly lower in frog skeletal muscle after 4 mo of hibernation compared with control conditions. The reduction in skeletal muscle aerobic capacity is apparently due to changes in the intrinsic properties of the mitochondria. Overall, these results indicate an important reorganisation of ATP-producing pathways during long-term metabolic depression to match the lowered ATP demand.

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