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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2002 May;282(5):R1405-13.

Seasonal dynamics of flight muscle fatty acid binding protein and catabolic enzymes in a migratory shorebird.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6.


We developed an ELISA to measure heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP) in muscles of the western sandpiper (Calidris mauri), a long-distance migrant shorebird. H-FABP accounted for almost 11% of cytosolic protein in the heart. Pectoralis H-FABP levels were highest during migration (10%) and declined to 6% in tropically wintering female sandpipers. Premigratory birds increased body fat, but not pectoralis H-FABP, indicating that endurance flight training may be required to stimulate H-FABP expression. Juveniles making their first migration had lower pectoralis H-FABP than adults, further supporting a role for flight training. Aerobic capacity, measured by citrate synthase activity, and fatty acid oxidation capacity, measured by 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase and carnitine palmitoyl transferase activities, did not change during premigration but increased during migration by 6, 12, and 13%, respectively. The greater relative induction of H-FABP (+70%) with migration than of catabolic enzymes suggests that elevated H-FABP is related to the enhancement of uptake of fatty acids from the circulation. Citrate synthase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase, and carnitine palmitoyl transferase were positively correlated within individuals, suggesting coexpression, but enzyme activities were unrelated to H-FABP levels.

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