GDP binding to hamster brown fat mitochondria is reduced during hibernation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Preparation for hibernation is accompanied by increased thermogenic capacity of brown fat (BAT), and 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°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, GPD 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 that it does not involve the synthesis of new GDP binding sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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