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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2012 Oct;30(6):539-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 May 24.

Effect of hypoxia on metabolic rate, core body temperature, and c-fos expression in the naked mole rat.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville, 701 Grove Road, Greenville, SC 29605, USA.


Recent investigations of hypoxia physiology in the naked mole rat have opened up an interesting line of research into the basic physiological and genomic alterations that accompany hypoxia survival. The extent to which such findings connect the effect of hypoxia to metabolic rate (O₂ consumption), core body temperature (Tb), and transcripts encoding the immediate early gene product (such as c-fos) under a constant ambient temperature (Ta) is not well known. We investigated this issue in the current study. Our first sets of experiments measured Tb and metabolic rates during exposure of naked mole rats to hypoxia over a constant Ta. Hypoxia significantly decreased metabolic rates in the naked mole rat. Although core Tb also decreased during hypoxia, the effect of hypoxia in suppressing core Tb was not significant. The second series of experiments revealed that c-fos protein and mRNA expression in the hippocampus neurons (CA1) increased in naked mole rats that were repeatedly exposed to 3% O₂ for 60 min per day for 5 days when compared to normoxia. Our findings provide evidence for the up-regulation of c-fos and suppression of metabolic rate in hypoxia tolerating naked mole rats under constant ambient temperature. Metabolic suppression and c-fos upregulation constitute part of the physiological complex associated with adaptation to hypoxia.

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