Metabolic organization of muscle and brown fat of normal and dystrophic hamsters.

S. J. Wickler, B. A. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The thermogenic response to catecholamines, i.e., regulatory nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), is significantly reduced in dystrophic hamsters (BIO 14.6) compared with age-matched normals. The possibility that this reduction reflects, in part, lower levels of enzymes in those tissues implicated in NST has been examined by assaying citrate synthase (CS), beta-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (HOAD), and phosphofructokinase (PFK), enzymes whose activity reflect the potential flux of substrates through the tricarboxylic acid cycle, beta-oxidation, and glycolysis, respectively. Each enzyme was assayed in brown fat, heart, gastrocnemius, and semitendinosus of 3-mo-old normal (n = 15) and dystrophic (n = 18) hamsters. Brown fat masses from interscapular, cervical, and scapular-axillary regions of dystrophics averaged only 50% those of normals (424 vs. 890 mg). Additionally, markers of aerobic metabolism (CS and HOAD) were significantly reduced in the brown fat from dystrophic animals. (CS activities averaged 59% of normal, whereas HOAD activities averaged 75% of normal). In dystrophic animals CS and HOAD levels were similar to those of normals in cardiac tissue but were significantly elevated in skeletal muscle samples. Tissue PFK activities were reduced only in cardiac tissue of the more affected dystrophics. Thus decreased NST capacity in dystrophic hamsters is accompanied by reduced masses and CS values in brown fat but not by decreases in the aerobic markers in skeletal or cardiac muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalThe American journal of physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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