Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 161, Issue 1, pp 15–18

Lability of fat stores in peripubertal wild house mice

  • F. H. Bronson
  • P. D. Heideman
  • M. C. Kerbeshian
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00258741

Cite this article as:
Bronson, F.H., Heideman, P.D. & Kerbeshian, M.C. J Comp Physiol B (1991) 161: 15. doi:10.1007/BF00258741

Summary

Traditionally, the adaptive value of mammalian white fat stores is considered in relation to longterm needs such as providing protection against the vagaries of winter or signalling the reproductive system when energy reserves are sufficient to risk pregnancy. As shown here, the fat stores of young house mice could not serve such needs. Despite prolonged acclimation and excess nesting material, food deprivation at 10°C significantly lowered the fat stores of peripubertal female house mice in only 12 h, and would exhaust them in 30 h. Even close to thermoneutrality (24°C) the calculated time to exhaustion was only 70 h. The fat stores of a young house mouse are obviously too meager to offer any meaningful protection over a winter of several months duration, or even over a 5–6-week cycle of pregnancy and lactation. Furthermore, in a wild habitat where food availability and ambient temperature can vary rapidly and greatly, such fat stores would be too labile to effectively coordinate puberty with somatic development.

Key words

FoodColdFatLabilityPuberty

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. H. Bronson
    • 1
  • P. D. Heideman
    • 1
  • M. C. Kerbeshian
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Reproductive Biology, Zoology DepartmentUniversity of TexasAustinUSA