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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Authors: Nowack, J; Vetter, SG; Stalder, G; Painer, J; Kral, M; Smith, S; Le, MH; Jurcevic, P; Bieber, C; Arnold, W; Ruf, T

Title: Muscle nonshivering thermogenesis in a feral mammal.

Source: Sci Rep. 2019; 9(1):6378

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Arnold Walter
Bieber Claudia
Jurcevic Perica
Nowack Julia
Painer-Gigler Johanna
Ruf Thomas
Smith Steven
Stalder Gabrielle
Vetter Sebastian

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

Data are deposited in Figshare | DataLink:

Muscle nonshivering thermogenesis (NST) was recently suggested to play an important role in thermoregulation of species lacking brown adipose tissue (BAT). The mechanism, which is independent of muscle contractions, produces heat based on the activity of an ATPase pump in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SERCA1a) and is controlled by the protein sarcolipin. To evaluate whether muscle NST could indeed play an important role in thermoregulation in species lacking BAT, we investigated the thermogenic capacities of newborn wild boar piglets. During cold exposure over the first 5 days of life, total heat production was improved while shivering intensity decreased, indicating an increasing contribution of NST. Sampling skeletal muscle tissue for analyses of SERCA activity as well as gene expression of SERCA1a and sarcolipin, we found an age-related increase in all three variables as well as in body temperature. Hence, the improved thermogenesis during the development of wild boars is not due to shivering but explained by the observed increase in SERCA activity. Our results suggest that muscle NST may be the primary mechanism of heat production during cold stress in large mammals lacking BAT, strengthening the hypothesis that muscle NST has likely played an important role in the evolution of endothermy.

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