Role of thermal physiology and bioenergetics on adaptation in tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri): the experiment test

Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 1;7:41352. doi: 10.1038/srep41352.


Ambient conditions, as temperature and photoperiod, play a key role in animals' physiology and behaviors. To test the hypothesis that the maximum thermal physiological and bioenergetics tolerances are induced by extreme environments in Tupaia belangeri. We integrated the acclimatized and acclimated data in several physiological, hormonal, and biochemical markers of thermogenic capacity and bioenergetics in T. belangeri. Results showed that T. belangeri increased body mass, thermogenesis capacity, protein contents and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) activity of liver and brown adipose tissue in winter-like environments, which indicated that temperature was the primary signal for T. belangeri to regulate several physiological capacities. The associated photoperiod signal also elevated the physiological capacities. The regulations of critical physiological traits play a primary role in meeting the survival challenges of winter-like condition in T. belangeri. Together, to cope with cold, leptin may play a potential role in thermogenesis and body mass regulation, as this hormonal signal is associated with other hormones. The strategies of thermal physiology and bioenergetics differs between typical Palearctic species and the local species. However, the maximum thermal physiology and bioenergetic tolerance maybe is an important strategy to cope with winter-like condition of T. belangeri.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / physiology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / physiology
  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Appetite / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hormones / blood
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Leptin / blood
  • Liver / physiology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuropeptide Y / genetics
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism
  • Photoperiod
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / genetics
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Shrews / physiology*
  • Temperature*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology


  • Hormones
  • Leptin
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript protein
  • Pro-Opiomelanocortin