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Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2007 Oct;148(2):346-53. Epub 2007 May 24.

Seasonal changes in thermogenesis and body mass in wild Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).

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State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 100101 Beijing, China.


Seasonal adjustments in body mass (BM), nonshivering thermogenesis (NST) and several physiological, hormonal, and biochemical markers were measured in wild-trapped Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) from Inner Mongolia, China. Sexual differences were detected in BM, NST, brown adipose tissue (BAT) mass, and mitochondrial protein content. BM and NST in males were higher in winter (January) and spring (May) than in summer (August), and BM of females was also the highest in winter, but NST remained relatively constant throughout the year. Cytochrome c oxidase activity and mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) content in BAT were enhanced in winter in males or females, respectively. Serum leptin concentration was the lowest in winter and positively correlated with BM and body fat mass but was negatively correlated with BAT UCP1 content. These data suggest that wild Mongolian gerbils do not depend on a decrease in BM, but instead increase their thermogenic capacity to cope with cold stress. Leptin may be involved in the seasonal regulation in energy balance and thermogenesis in field Mongolian gerbils.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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