Increased nonshivering thermogenesis, brown fat cytochrome-c oxidase activity, GDP binding, and uncoupling protein mRNA levels after short daily cold exposure of Phodopus sungorus

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1990 Feb;68(2):195-200. doi: 10.1139/y90-030.


In their natural environment, burrowing rodents experience rather fluctuating ambient temperatures and are acutely cold exposed only for short periods outside their burrows. The effect of short daily cold exposure on basal metabolic rate, nonshivering thermogenesis, brown fat thermogenesis, and uncoupling protein mRNA was studied in the Djungarian hamster, Phodopus sungorus. They were kept at 23 degrees C and exposed to 5 degrees C daily either for one 4-h period or twice for 2 h (in 12-h intervals). At the same time control hamsters were kept continuously either at thermoneutrality (23 degrees C) or at 5 degrees C. Two 2-h cold exposures daily were sufficient to increase basal metabolic rate and nonshivering thermogenesis to the same level as continuous cold exposure, whereas one 4-h cold period per day did not result in a significant increase of both parameters. Brown fat thermogenesis (as measured by cytochrome-c oxidase activity and GDP binding to the mitochondrial uncoupling protein) increased to the same extent by both treatments with short daily cold exposure. However, this increase was less than in the chronically cold-exposed hamsters. A similar result was found for uncoupling protein mRNA: both short-term cold-exposed hamsters increased uncoupling protein mRNA levels to a similar extent, but less than after chronic cold treatment. It is concluded that short daily cold exposures are sufficient to cause adaptive increases of the capacity of metabolic heat production as well as brown fat thermogenic properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cricetinae / physiology*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism*
  • Guanine Nucleotides / metabolism*
  • Guanosine Diphosphate / metabolism*
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Uncoupling Protein 1


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Guanine Nucleotides
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Uncoupling Protein 1
  • Guanosine Diphosphate
  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • Norepinephrine