Adaptive changes in skeletal muscle mitochondria of the guinea-pig during acclimation to cold

  • V. L. Kinnula
  • P. Huttunen
  • J. Hirvonen


The effects of cold adaptation of 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks at 4‡ C on guinea-pig skeletal muscle mitochondria were studied. Cytochrome concentrations, enzyme activities and respiration rates were determined from isolated skeletal muscle mitochondria and expressed in relation to mitochondrial protein.

All the mitochondrial cytochromes increased significantly after 4 weeks in the cold, the increase being 2.5-fold for cytochrome c, 3.2-fold for cytochrome c1 2.8-fold for cytochrome b and 3.4-fold for cytochrome aa3. Succinate dehydrogenase activity in isolated skeletal muscle mitochondria was elevated most markedly after 4 weeks, the increase in specific activity being 3.7-fold and the substrate-stimulated specific activity 2.0-fold. Cytochrome oxidase activity increased two-fold, but the change was not significant. The respiration rate of the isolated mitochondria, with succinate as a substrate, did not rise immediately but did so after 4 weeks, the increase being 1.9-fold in State 4 and 1.7-fold in State 3 as compared with the controls.

Serum thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine increased most markedly after 3 weeks, by 85% and 87% respectively. Serum cortisol was increased by 81% after 4 weeks. The most marked increase in noradrenaline excretion occurred after 4 weeks, being 4.6-fold compared with the control level.

In conclusion, the results indicate the important role of skeletal muscle in association with the simultaneous increases of serum thyroid hormones, cortisol, and noradrenaline during the slow process of cold acclimation in the guinea pig.

Key words

Cold-exposure Muscle mitochondria Cytochromes Succinate dehydrogenase Cytochrome oxidase Respiration rate 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. L. Kinnula
    • 1
  • P. Huttunen
    • 1
  • J. Hirvonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Physiology and Forensic MedicineUniversity of OuluOulu 22Finland

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