Hypothermia versus torpor in response to cold stress in the native Australian mouse Pseudomys hermannsburgensis and the introduced house mouse Mus musculus.
ABSTRACT This study compared torpor as a response to food deprivation and low ambient temperature for the introduced house mouse (Mus musculus) and the Australian endemic sandy inland mouse (Pseudomys hermannsburgensis). The house mouse (mass 13.0+/-0.48 g) had a normothermic body temperature of 34.0+/-0.20 degrees C at ambient temperatures from 5 degrees C to 30 degrees C and a basal metabolic rate at 30 degrees C of 2.29+/-0.07 mL O2 g(-1) h(-1). It used torpor with spontaneous arousal at low ambient temperatures; body temperature during torpor was 20.5+/-3.30 degrees C at 15 degrees C. The sandy inland mouse (mass 11.7+/-0.16 g) had a normothermic T(b) of 33.0+/-0.38 degrees C between T(a) of 5 degrees C to 30 degrees C, and a BMR of 1.45+/-0.26 mL O2 g(-1) h(-1) at 30 degrees C. They became hypothermic at low T(a) (T(b) about 17.3 degrees C at T(a)=15 degrees C), but did not spontaneously arouse. They did, however, survive and become normothermic if returned to room temperature (23 degrees C). We conclude that this is hypothermia, not torpor. Consequently, house mice (Subfamily Murinae) appear to use torpor as an energy conservation strategy whereas sandy inland mice (Subfamily Conilurinae) do not, but can survive hypothermia. This may reflect a general phylogenetic pattern of metabolic reduction in rodents. On the other hand, this may be related to differences in the social structure of house mice (solitary) and sandy inland mice (communal).
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ABSTRACT: Many animal species employ natural hypothermia in seasonal (hibernation) and daily (torpor) strategies to save energy. Facultative daily torpor is a typical response to fluctuations in food availability, but the relationship between environmental quality, foraging behaviour and torpor responses is poorly understood. We studied body temperature responses of outbred ICR (CD-1) mice exposed to different food reward schedules, simulating variation in habitat quality. Our main comparison was between female mice exposed to low foraging-cost environments and high-cost environments. As controls, we pair-fed a group of inactive animals (no-cost treatment) the same amount of pellets as high-cost animals. Mice faced with high foraging costs were more likely to employ torpor than mice exposed to low foraging costs, or no-cost controls (100% versus 40% and 33% of animals, respectively). While resting-phase temperature showed a non-significant decrease in high-cost animals, torpor was not associated with depressions in active-phase body temperature. These results demonstrate (i) that mice show daily torpor in response to poor foraging conditions; (ii) that torpor incidence is not attributable to food restriction alone; and (iii) that high levels of nocturnal activity do not preclude the use of daily torpor as an energy-saving strategy. The finding that daily torpor is not restricted to conditions of severe starvation puts torpor in mice in a more fundamental ecological context.Biology letters 09/2009; 6(1):132-5. · 3.76 Impact Factor
Article: Psychophysics of a nociceptive test in the mouse: ambient temperature as a key factor for variation.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The mouse is increasingly used in biomedical research, notably in behavioral neurosciences for the development of tests or models of pain. Our goal was to provide the scientific community with an outstanding tool that allows the determination of psychophysical descriptors of a nociceptive reaction, which are inaccessible with conventional methods: namely the true threshold, true latency, conduction velocity of the peripheral fibers that trigger the response and latency of the central decision-making process. Basically, the procedures involved heating of the tail with a CO(2) laser, recording of tail temperature with an infrared camera and stopping the heating when the animal reacted. The method is based mainly on the measurement of three observable variables, namely the initial temperature, the heating rate and the temperature reached at the actual moment of the reaction following random variations in noxious radiant heat. The initial temperature of the tail, which itself depends on the ambient temperature, very markedly influenced the behavioral threshold, the behavioral latency and the conduction velocity of the peripheral fibers but not the latency of the central decision-making. We have validated a psychophysical approach to nociceptive reactions for the mouse, which has already been described for rats and Humans. It enables the determination of four variables, which contribute to the overall latency of the response. The usefulness of such an approach was demonstrated by providing new fundamental findings regarding the influence of ambient temperature on nociceptive processes. We conclude by challenging the validity of using as "pain index" the reaction time of a behavioral response to an increasing heat stimulus and emphasize the need for a very careful control of the ambient temperature, as a prevailing environmental source of variation, during any behavioral testing of mice.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36699. · 4.09 Impact Factor