Cardiovascular changes during daily torpor in the laboratory mouse

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Sep;297(3):R769-74. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00131.2009. Epub 2009 Jul 8.


The laboratory mouse is a facultative daily heterotherm in that it experiences bouts of torpor under caloric restriction. Mice are the most frequently studied laboratory mammal, and often, genetically modified mice are used to investigate many physiological functions related to weight loss and caloric intake. As such, research documenting the cardiovascular changes during fasting-induced torpor in mice is warranted. In the current study, C57BL/6 mice were implanted either with EKG/temperature telemeters or blood pressure telemeters. Upon fasting and exposure to an ambient temperature (T(a)) of 19 degrees C, mice entered torpor bouts as assessed by core body temperature (T(b)). Core T(b) fell from 36.6 +/- 0.2 degrees C to a minimum of 25.9 +/- 0.9 degrees C during the fast, with a concomitant fall in heart rate from 607 +/- 12 beats per minute (bpm) to a minimum of 158 +/- 20 bpm. Below a core T(b) of 31 degrees C, heart rate fell exponentially with T(b), and the Q(10) was 2.61 +/- 0.18. Further, mice implanted with blood pressure telemeters exhibited similar heart rate and activity profiles as those implanted with EKG/temperature telemeters, and the fall in heart rate and core T(b) during entrance into torpor was paralleled by a fall in blood pressure. The minimum systolic, mean, and diastolic blood pressures of torpid mice were 62.3 +/- 10.2, 51.9 +/- 9.2, 41.0 +/- 7.5 mmHg, respectively. Torpid mice had a significantly lower heart rate (25-35%) than when euthermic at mean arterial pressures from 75 to 100 mmHg, suggesting that total peripheral resistance is elevated during torpor. These data provide new and significant insight into the cardiovascular adjustments that occur in torpid mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fasting*
  • Female
  • Food Deprivation
  • Heart Rate*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Telemetry
  • Vascular Resistance