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Selected Publication:

Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Author(s): Nowack, J; Tarmann, I; Hoelzl, F; Smith, S; Giroud, S; Ruf, T

Title: Always a price to pay: hibernation at low temperatures comes with a trade-off between energy savings and telomere damage.

Source: Biol Lett. 2019; 15(10):20190466

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Giroud Sylvain
Hölzl Franz
Nowack Julia
Ruf Thomas
Smith Steven

Vetmed Research Units
Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology

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Project(s): Predation risk, stress and life history tactics in the edible dormouse

Effects of PUFA on hibernation and aging

We experimentally tested the costs of deep torpor at low temperatures by comparing telomere dynamics in two species of rodents hibernating at either 3 or 14°C. Our data show that hibernators kept at the warmer temperature had higher arousal frequencies, but maintained longer telomeres than individuals hibernating at the colder temperature. We suggest that the high-energy demand of frequent arousals is counteracted by a lower temperature differential between torpid and euthermic body temperature and that telomere length is restored during arousals when the body temperature is returned to normothermic values. Taken together, our study shows that hibernation at low body temperatures comes with costs on a cellular level and that hibernators need to actively counterbalance the shortening of telomeres.

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