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J Physiol. 1986 Jun;375:27-38.

Multilocular adipocytes from muscovy ducklings differentiated in response to cold acclimation.


Morphological and functional aspects of adipose tissue from 6-week-old cold-acclimated muscovy ducklings reared at 4 degrees C ambient temperature (Ta) from the age of 1 week were examined for the occurrence of brown adipose tissue (b.a.t.) in order to explain non-shivering thermogenesis (n.s.t.) observed at this age. Metabolic rate and integrated muscle electrical activity (e.m.g.) were measured at different Ta (from -10 to +28 degrees C) in cold-acclimated and in control ducklings reared at thermoneutrality. The results confirm the existence of n.s.t. in 6-week-old cold-acclimated muscovy ducklings. In cold-acclimated ducklings, typical multilocular adipocytes were found in subcutaneous adipose deposits instead of the unilocular white adipocytes as in control ducklings. Mitochondria isolated from this differentiated tissue were less abundant than in b.a.t. of mammals. Their respiration rate was similar to the respiration rate of white adipose tissue mitochondria from control rats and much lower than the b.a.t. mitochondria rate from cold-acclimated rats. It is therefore unlikely that this differentiated adipose tissue contributes to the n.s.t. observed, an n.s.t. whose capacity reached 5.26 W/kg (+73.5% above resting metabolic rate) in cold-acclimated ducklings. The role of this differentiated adipose tissue in the metabolic adaptation to cold is discussed.

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