Type of publication:
Type of document:
Jastroch, M; Giroud, S; Barrett, P; Geiser, F; Heldmaier, G; Herwig, A
Seasonal Control of Mammalian Energy Balance: Recent Advances in the Understanding of Daily Torpor and Hibernation.
J Neuroendocrinol. 2016; 28(11):
Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:
Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology
- Endothermic mammals and birds require intensive energy turnover to sustain high body temperatures and metabolic rates. To cope with the energetic bottlenecks associated with the change of seasons, and to minimise energy expenditure, complex mechanisms and strategies are used, such as daily torpor and hibernation. During torpor, metabolic depression and low body temperatures save energy. However, these bouts of torpor, lasting for hours to weeks, are interrupted by active 'euthermic' phases with high body temperatures. These dynamic transitions require precise communication between the brain and peripheral tissues to defend rheostasis in energetics, body mass and body temperature. The hypothalamus appears to be the major control centre in the brain, coordinating energy metabolism and body temperature. The sympathetic nervous system controls body temperature by adjustments of shivering and nonshivering thermogenesis, with the latter being primarily executed by brown adipose tissue. Over the last decade, comparative physiologists have put forward integrative studies on the ecophysiology, biochemistry and molecular regulation of energy balance in response to seasonal challenges, food availability and ambient temperature. Mammals coping with such environments comprise excellent model organisms for studying the dynamic regulation of energy metabolism. Beyond the understanding of how animals survive in nature, these studies also uncover general mechanisms of mammalian energy homeostasis. This research will benefit efforts of translational medicine aiming to combat emerging human metabolic disorders. The present review focuses on recent advances in the understanding of energy balance and its neuronal and endocrine control during the most extreme metabolic fluctuations in nature: daily torpor and hibernation.© 2016 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.