Improved cold tolerance and its mechanism in cold-acclimated rats by high fat diet feeding

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1977 Aug;55(4):943-50. doi: 10.1139/y77-126.


Cold tolerance and metabolic responses to cold were studied in cold-acclimated rats on high fat diet (CAHF). Cold tolerance at-5 degrees C was assessed by fall of colonic temperature of clipped rats after 18 h of fasting. Rate of fall in colonic temperature was greatest in warm-acclimated control rats (WAST), slowest in cold-acclimated rats on standard diet (CAST), and remained unchanged in CAHF during cold exposure for 240 min. Increment in blood free fatty acid (FFA) concentration 80 min after cold exposure was greatest in WAST, less in CAST, and least in CAHF. Blood glucose decreased similarly in WAST and CAST after cold exposure, while it remained unchanged in CAHF. Blood beta-hydroxybutyrate also increased similarly in WAST and CAST, while it did not change in CAHF. Nonshivering thermogenesis tested by noradrenaline was greatest in CAHF, followed by CAST and WAST. Shivering induced by cold exposure was less pronounced in CAST than in WAST and did not develop in CAHF; changes in colonic temperature were inversely related to the extent of shivering during cold exposure for 90 min. These results suggest that an integrating effect of cold and high fat diet could improve cold tolerance much more than cold acclimation itself, possibly through enhanced nonshivering thermogenesis caused by metabolic modifications such as increased lipid use and gluconeogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Shivering / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Fats
  • Norepinephrine