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Dietary Supplementation with n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Reduces Torpor Use in a Tropical Daily Heterotherm

Abstract : Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are involved in a variety of physiological mechanisms, including heterothermy preparation and expression. However, the effects of the two major classes of PUFAs, n-6 and n-3, can differ substantially. While n-6 PUFAs enhance torpor expression, n-3 PUFAs reduce the ability to decrease body temperature. This negative impact of n-3 PUFAs has been revealed in temperate hibernators only. Yet because tropical heterotherms generally experience higher ambient temperature and exhibit higher minimum body temperature during heterothermy, they may not be affected as much by PUFAs as their temperate counterparts. We tested whether n-3 PUFAs constrain torpor use in a tropical daily heterotherm (Microcebus murinus). We expected dietary n-3 PUFA sup-plementation to induce a reduction in torpor use and for this effect to appear rapidly given the time required for dietary fatty acids to be assimilated into phospholipids. n-3 PUFA supple-mentation reduced torpor use, and its effect appeared in the first days of the experiment. Within 2 wk, control animals progressively deepened their torpor bouts, whereas supplemented ones never entered torpor but rather expressed only constant, shallow reductions in body temperature. For the rest of the experiment, the effect of n-3 PUFA supplementation on torpor use remained constant through time. Even though supplemented animals also started to express torpor, they exhibited higher minimum body temperature by 27-37C and spent two fewer hours in a torpid state per day than control individuals, on average. Our study supports the view that a higher dietary content in n-3 PUFAs negatively affects torpor use in general, not only in cold-acclimated hibernators.
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Pauline Vuarin, Pierre-Yves Henry, Martine Perret, Fabien Pifferi. Dietary Supplementation with n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Reduces Torpor Use in a Tropical Daily Heterotherm. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, University of Chicago Press, 2016, 89 (6), pp.536-545. ⟨10.1086/688659⟩. ⟨hal-02309681⟩

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