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Naturwissenschaften. 2007 Feb;94(2):128-33. Epub 2006 Nov 3.

Direct calorimetry of free-moving eels with manipulated thyroid status.

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Institute Biology Leiden (IBL), Integrative Zoology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.


In birds and mammals, the thyroid gland secretes the iodothyronine hormones of which tetraiodothyronine (T4) is less active than triiodothyronine (T3). The action of T3 and T4 is calorigenic and is involved in the control of metabolic rate. Across all vertebrates, thyroid hormones also play a major role in differentiation, development and growth. Although the fish thyroidal system has been researched extensively, its role in thermogenesis is unclear. In this study, we measured overall heat production to an accuracy of 0.1 mW by direct calorimetry in a free-moving European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) with different thyroid status. Hyperthyroidism was induced by injection of T3 and T4, and hypothyroidism was induced with phenylthiourea. The results show for the first time at the organismal level, using direct calorimetry, that neither overall heat production nor overall oxygen consumption in eels is affected by hyperthyroidism. Therefore, we conclude that the thermogenic metabolism-stimulating effect of thyroid hormones (TH) is not present with a cold-blooded fish species like the European eel. This supports the concept that TH does not stimulate thermogenesis in poikilothermic species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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