PubMed 20581277

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Automatically associated channels: Kir6.2

Title: Cold-acclimation-induced non-shivering thermogenesis in birds is associated with upregulation of avian UCP but not with innate uncoupling or altered ATP efficiency.

Authors: Loïc Teulier, Jean-Louis Rouanet, Dominique Letexier, Caroline Romestaing, Maud Belouze, Benjamin Rey, Claude Duchamp, Damien Roussel

Journal, date & volume: J. Exp. Biol., 2010 Jul 15 , 213, 2476-82

PubMed link:

Despite their lack of brown adipose tissue, some bird species develop regulatory non-shivering thermogenesis (NST) of skeletal muscle origin in response to cold acclimation. Mechanisms involved in avian NST are still unclear but may involve reduced energetic coupling in skeletal muscle mitochondria through the expression of an avian homologue of mammalian uncoupling proteins. The aim of this work was to investigate whether the expression of avian uncoupling protein (avUCP) would correlate with the capacity for cold-induced muscle NST. Various levels of cold acclimation were obtained by rearing 1-week-old ducklings (Cairina moschata) for 4 weeks at three different ambient temperatures (25 degrees C, 11 degrees C or 4 degrees C). Muscle NST was measured by simultaneous recordings of metabolic rate and electromyographic activity (gastrocnemius muscle) at ambient temperatures (T(a)) ranging from 27 degrees C to -5 degrees C. The expression of avUCP gene and mitochondrial bioenergetics were also determined in gastrocnemius muscle. Results showed that muscle NST capacity depends on the T(a) at which ducklings were acclimated, i.e. the lower the rearing temperature, the higher the capacity for NST. This increased metabolic heat production occurred in parallel with an upregulation of avUCP, which was not associated with a change in mitochondrial membrane conductance. The intensity of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation also increased in proportion with the harshness of cold, while the efficiency of ATP generation was equally effective in all three acclimation temperatures. In the absence of mitochondrial uncoupling, these data indicate a clear link between avUCP expression and the capacity of ducklings to adjust their muscular aerobic activity to cold exposure.