Physiological oxidative stress after arousal from hibernation in Arctic ground squirrel

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2009 Jun;153(2):213-21. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2009.02.016. Epub 2009 Feb 20.


Hibernation in Arctic ground squirrels (AGS), Spermophilus parryii, is characterized by a profound decrease in oxygen consumption and metabolic demand during torpor that is punctuated by periodic rewarming episodes, during which oxygen consumption increases dramatically. The extreme physiology of torpor or the surge in oxygen consumption during arousal may increase production of reactive oxygen species, making hibernation an injurious process for AGS. To determine if AGS tissues experience cellular stress during rewarming, we measured carbonyl proteins, lipid peroxide end products and percent oxidized glutathione in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and liver of torpid, hibernating (hAGS), late arousal (laAGS), and cold-adapted, euthermic AGS (eAGS). In BAT carbonyl proteins and lipid peroxide end products were higher in eAGS and laAGS than in hAGS. By contrast, in liver, no significant difference in carbonyl proteins was observed. In another group of animals, comparison of carbonyl proteins and percent oxidized glutathione in frontal cortex, liver, and BAT of eAGS and hAGS showed no evidence of oxidative stress associated with torpor. These results indicate that increased thermogenesis associated with arousal AGS results in tissue specific oxidative stress in BAT but not in liver. Moreover, torpor per se is largely devoid of oxidative stress, likely due to suppression of oxidative metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arctic Regions
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Hibernation / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Sciuridae / physiology*