Profound changes in blood parameters during torpor in a South American marsupial

Marcela Franco, Carolina Contreras, Roberto F. Nespolo

Resultado de la investigación: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

20 Citas (Scopus)


Seasonal torpor or hibernation is a phenomenon characterized by a physiological transition to dormancy (torpor) during challenging periods in terms of energy availability or metabolic load. Extensive physiological reprogramming and changes in gene-expression, immune function, oxygen transport and intermediate metabolism, occur during eutherian hibernation. Here we studied the seasonality of blood parameters, and during daily torpor, in a South American marsupial (Dromiciops gliroides). Seasonal trends in blood parameters showed an increase in hematological parameters during winter, and increases in total proteins, albumin and globulin during autumn. In contrast, torpor induced a drastic drop during most blood parameters. PCV dropped significantly 60%, as well as RBC (58%), hemoglobin concentration (58%), WBC (79%), including neutrophils (51%), eosinophils (84%) and lymphocytes (82%). Biochemical parameters also showed reductions: triglycerides (81%), proteins (32%), albumin (24%), globulins (38%), albumin (24%), creatinine (48%) and glucose (42%). Our results confirm some patterns observed in hibernating eutherians, such as leukopenia, probably caused by sequestration of white blood cells in organs. However, red blood cells and hemoglobin concentration also were reduced, which is to the best of our knowledge has not been reported for marsupials. The observed reduction in biochemical parameters suggests that marsupials, as in eutherians, change from carbohydrate-based to lipid-based metabolism during hibernation. However, the absence of increases in beta-hydroxybutyrate is puzzling. Finally, we found an increase (although non-significant after statistical correction for multiple comparisons) of creatine kinase which together with an increase in neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio could be indicative of muscle lysis and inflammation. These results indicate profound changes in standard physiological processes during torpor.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)338-342
Número de páginas5
PublicaciónComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
EstadoPublicada - 1 oct 2013


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