Effect of cold on serum substrate and glycogen concentration in young and old fischer 344 rats

Lisa M. Larkin, Barbara A Horwitz, Roger B. McDonald

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11 Scopus citations


This investigation evaluated the hypothesis that the age-related decline in cold-induced thermogenesis observed in male (F344) rats is associated with altered substrate concentrations of glucose, lactate, and/or liver and muscle glycogen. Body mass-independent O2 consumption, core temperature, and serum glucose and lactate concentrations were measured at rest and during 4 h of exposure to 5°C in male F344 rats ages 6, 12, and 26 months. At the end of the 4-h cold exposure, liver, soleus, and gastrocnemius tissues were removed, frozen, and analyzed for glycogen concentration and/or citrate synthase activity. Core temperature decreased during cold exposure and was consistently less in the 26-month versus the 6- and 12-month rats. There were no significant differences between the 6- and 12-month-old rats with respect to cold-induced O2 consumption, but measures were significantly lower in the 26-month-old rats. During cold exposure, serum lactate and glucose concentrations increased in the 26-month-old animals compared to those in the 6- and 12-month-old rats, while liver glycogen concentrations decreased in all groups, and gastrocnemius glycogen contents decreased in the 12- and 26-month-old rats. Citrate synthase specific activity (μmol · [min · μg · protein]-1) did not differ with age. These data suggest that carbohydrate availability (as measured by serum glucose and muscle glycogen) is not a limiting factor in the attenuated cold-exposed thermogenic response of the 26-month-old male F344 rat. However, it appears that the 26-month-old rat may have a diminished capacity to fully oxidize carbohydrate during cold exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • aging rats
  • cold-induced thermogenesis
  • glucose
  • lactate
  • liver and muscle glycogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)


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