Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 97–104 | Cite as

Maintenance of the pectoralis muscle during hibernation in the big brown bat,Eptesicus fuscus

  • Marshall E. Yacoe


The relationship between pectoralis muscle mass and body mass is examined throughout the annual body mass cycle inEptesicus fuscus in order to evaluate muscle maintenance during hibernation.E. fuscus undergoes large fluctuations in body mass during the year due to pregnancy, parturition, prehibernation fattening, and hibernation (Table 1). Parallel changes occur in pectoralis muscle mass and total pectoralis protein mass (Table 2). The strong correlation between log pectoralis mass and log body mass (Fig. 3) and the lack of correlation between pectoralis mass and forearm length (Fig. 1, 2) suggest that the seasonal variation in pectoralis muscle mass represents a compensatory response to changing body mass. In active bats this relationship closely resembles the compensatory response predicted by flight theory.

Both pectoralis muscle mass and body mass decrease significantly during four months of hibernation (Tables 1, 2). Although pectoralis mass and body mass are not significantly correlated after four months of hibernation the values fall within the range of observations in active summer bats (Fig. 3), indicating an approximate maintenance of the pectoralis mass/body mass relationship. The lack of correlation in hibernating bats may result from differences in the function of pectoralis muscle during activity (powering flight) and hibernation (thermogenesis and supply of gluconeogenic precursors). The significant elevation of pectoralis muscle protein concentration during prehibernation fattening and its progressive decrease during hibernation (Fig. 4) support the idea that the pectoralis muscle serves as an important source of gluconcogenic precursors during hibernation.


Compensatory Response Pectoralis Muscle Change Body Mass Pectoralis Mass Forearm Length 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marshall E. Yacoe
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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