Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 185, Issue 1, pp 135–142 | Cite as

Regional thermal specialisation in a mammal: temperature affects power output of core muscle more than that of peripheral muscle in adult mice (Mus musculus)

  • Rob S. James
  • Jason Tallis
  • Michael J. AngillettaJr.
Original Paper


In endotherms, such as mammals and birds, internal organs can specialise to function within a narrow thermal range. Consequently, these organs should become more sensitive to changes in body temperature. Yet, organs at the periphery of the body still experience considerable fluctuations in temperature, which could select for lower thermal sensitivity. We hypothesised that the performance of soleus muscle taken from the leg would depend less on temperature than would the performance of diaphragm muscle taken from the body core. Soleus and diaphragm muscles were isolated from mice and subjected to isometric and work-loop studies to analyse mechanical performance at temperatures between 15 and 40 °C. Across this thermal range, soleus muscle took longer to generate isometric force and longer to relax, and tended to produce greater normalised maximal force (stress) than did diaphragm muscle. The time required to produce half of maximal force during isometric tetanus and the time required to relax half of maximal force were both more sensitive to temperature in soleus than they were in diaphragm. However, thermal sensitivities of maximal force during isometric tetani were similar for both muscles. Consistent with our hypothesis, power output (the product of speed and force) was greater in magnitude and more thermally sensitive in diaphragm than it was in soleus. Our findings, when combined with previous observations of muscles from regionally endothermic fish, suggest that endothermy influences the thermal sensitivities of power output in core and peripheral muscles.


Endotherm Force Power Temperature Tetanus Thermal sensitivity 



Thanks to Mark Bodycote, Bethan Grist and Roy Petticrew for technical assistance. This research was supported by Coventry University, UK. Many thanks to the referees for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob S. James
    • 1
  • Jason Tallis
    • 1
  • Michael J. AngillettaJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Sciences and HealthCoventry UniversityCoventryUK
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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