Interplay among energy metabolism, organ mass and digestive enzyme activity in the mouse-opossum Thylamys elegans: the role of thermal acclimation

Nespolo, RF; Bacigalupe, LD; Sabat P.; Bozinovic F.

Abstract

The potential for thermal acclimation in marsupials is controversial. Initial studies suggest that the thermoregulatory maximum metabolic rate (MMR) in metatherians cannot be changed by thermal acclimation. Nevertheless, recent studies reported conspicuous seasonality in both MMR and in basal metabolic rate (BMR). We studied the role of thermal acclimation in the Chilean mouse-opossum, Thylamys elegans, by measuring MMR and BMR before and after acclimation to cold or warm conditions. Following acclimation we also measured the mass of metabolically active organs, and the activity of a key digestive enzyme, aminopeptidase-N. No significant effect of thermal acclimation (i.e. between cold- and warm-acclimated animals) was observed for body mass, MMR, body temperature or factorial aerobic scope. However, the BMR of cold-acclimated animals was 30 % higher than for warm-acclimated individuals. For organ mass, acclimation had a significant effect on the dry mass of caecum, liver and kidneys only. Stepwise multiple regression using pooled data showed that 71% of the variation in BMR is explained by the digestive organs. Overall, these results suggest that MMR is a rather rigid variable, while BMR shows plasticity. It seems that T. elegans cannot respond to thermal acclimation by adjusting its processes of energy expenditure (i.e. thermogenic capacity and mass of metabolically active organs). The lack of any significant difference in aminopeptidase-N specific activity between warm- and cold-acclimated animals suggests that this response is mainly quantitative (i.e. cell proliferation) rather than qualitative (i.e. differential enzyme expression). Finally, as far as we know, this study is the first to report the effects of thermal acclimation on energy metabolism, organ mass and digestive enzyme activity in a marsupial.

Más información

Título según WOS: Interplay among energy metabolism, organ mass and digestive enzyme activity in the mouse-opossum Thylamys elegans: the role of thermal acclimation
Título según SCOPUS: Interplay among energy metabolism, organ mass and digestive enzyme activity in the mouse-opossum Thylamys elegans: The role of thermal acclimation
Título de la Revista: Journal of Experimental Biology
Volumen: 205
Asunto: 17
Editorial: COMPANY OF BIOLOGISTS LTD
Fecha de publicación: 2002-01-01
Página de inicio: 2697
Página final: 2703
Idioma: English
Notas: ISI, SCOPUS