Document Detail

"Metabolic switch" for desert survival.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  7991624     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Food, like water, is in short supply in the desert. We report a specialized mechanism used by a desert mouse for surviving prolonged food shortages. The key element of this adaptation is a large reduction in resting metabolism. After about 2 weeks of restricted food intake (50% of normal), the desert mouse "switched down" its resting metabolism and was able to survive and maintain its weight indefinitely on these limited rations. When food was again freely available, resting metabolism "switched up," returning to normal levels in a single day. The reduced metabolism occurred without a decrease in body temperature or in levels of activity. In marked contrast, metabolism of the laboratory white mouse increased during food restriction, and the experiments had to be terminated to avoid starvation. We think this "metabolic switch" is common among desert mammals. It may be an amplification of a general metabolic response for coping with food scarcity common to all mammals, including humans.
J R Merkt; C R Taylor
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  91     ISSN:  0027-8424     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  1994 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1995-01-11     Completed Date:  1995-01-11     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  12313-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Bedford, MA 01730.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological*
Basal Metabolism*
Body Temperature
Desert Climate
Food Supply
Mice / physiology
Muridae / physiology*
Oxygen Consumption
Species Specificity

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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