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The performing animal: causes and consequences of body remodeling and metabolic adjustments in red knots facing contrasting thermal environments
Vézina, F.; Gerson, A.R.; Guglielmo, C.G.; Piersma, T. (2017). The performing animal: causes and consequences of body remodeling and metabolic adjustments in red knots facing contrasting thermal environments. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 313(2): R120-R131. https://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpregu.00453.2016
In: American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology. Amer Physiological Soc: Bethesda. ISSN 0363-6119; e-ISSN 1522-1490, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Calidris canutus; phenotypic flexibility; metabolic performance; bodycomposition; thermal acclimation

Authors  Top 
  • Vézina, F.
  • Gerson, A.R.
  • Guglielmo, C.G.
  • Piersma, T., more

Abstract
    Using red knots (Calidris canutus) as a model, we determined how changes in mass and metabolic activity of organs relate to temperature-induced variation in metabolic performance. In cold-acclimated birds, we expected large muscles and heart as well as improved oxidative capacity and lipid transport, and we predicted that this would explain variation in maximal thermogenic capacity (Msum). We also expected larger digestive and excretory organs in these same birds and predicted that this would explain most of the variation in basal metabolic rate (BMR). Knots kept at 5°C were 20% heavier and maintained 1.5 times more body fat than individuals kept in thermoneutral conditions (25°C). The birds in the cold also had a BMR up to 32% higher and a Msum 16% higher than birds at 25°C. Organs were larger in the cold, with muscles and heart being 9–20% heavier and digestive and excretory organs being 21–36% larger than at thermoneutrality. Rather than the predicted digestive and excretory organs, the cold-induced increase in BMR correlated with changes in mass of the heart, pectoralis, and carcass. Msum varied positively with the mass of the pectoralis, supracoracoideus, and heart, highlighting the importance of muscles and cardiac function in cold endurance. Cold-acclimated knots also expressed upregulated capacity for lipid transport across mitochondrial membranes [carnitine palmitoyl transferase (CPT)] in their pectoralis and leg muscles, higher lipid catabolism capacity in their pectoralis muscles [β-hydroxyacyl CoA-dehydrogenase (HOAD)], and elevated oxidative capacity in their liver and kidney (citrate synthase). These adjustments may have contributed to BMR through changes in metabolic intensity. Positive relationships among Msum, CPT, and HOAD in the heart also suggest indirect constraints on thermogenic capacity through limited cardiac capacity.

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