GDP binding to hamster brown fat mitochondria is reduced during hibernation.

B. A. Horwitz, J. S. Hamilton, K. S. Kott

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16 Scopus citations


Preparation for hibernation is accompanied by increased thermogenic capacity of brown fat (BAT), an important site of thermogenesis during arousal from hibernation. This study examined whether that thermogenic capacity is reduced in hibernation and reactivated during arousal. In one set of experiments, Syrian hamsters were exposed to short photoperiod (10:14 light-dark) and cold (7 degrees C). Those not hibernating at death (n = 10) served as controls for those that were (n = 9). A third group (n = 10) was killed 80-90 min after arousal was initiated by manual perturbation. Mitochondrial GDP binding (nmol/mg mitochondrial protein) was used to estimate thermogenic capacity. In a second experimental series, BAT citrate (si)-synthase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase activities were measured in hibernating and nonhibernating hamsters. Although there were no differences in the maximum activities of these enzymes, GDP binding was markedly lower in the hibernators relative to the nonhibernators (0.214 +/- 0.031 vs. 0.535 +/- 0.039). However, in the partially aroused hamsters, GDP binding had doubled (0.438 +/- 0.04). Thus hibernation is accompanied by a substantial reduction of BAT thermogenic capacity (as manifested by GDP binding), which is reversed during arousal. The rapidity of this reversal indicates that it does not involve the synthesis of new GDP binding sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe American journal of physiology
Issue number6 Pt 2
StatePublished - Dec 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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