Nonshivering thermogenesis during acute cold exposure in adult and aged C57BL/6J mice

Sergei A. Kirov, Mark I. Talan, Nadejda A. Kosheleva, Bernard T. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In C57BL/6J adult and aged mice, housed at room temperature (22.5 ± 1°C), we measured O2 consumption and CO2 production and calculated metabolic heat production under conditions of anesthesia and myorelaxation during acute cold stimulation when body temperature was lowered 7.5°C below control level. An independent group of mice was subjected to a three hour partial physical restraint at 6°C and concentration of uncoupling protein (thermogenin) was measured in interscapular brown adipose tissue mitochondria at different times after cold exposure. Heat production under anesthesia and myorelaxation was about 57-66% lower than in nonanesthetized conditions, but increased significantly during cold stimulation in both age groups. Under anesthesia and myorelaxation before and during cold stimulation aged mice produced about 20% more heat than adult mice. Because in these experiments all sources of facultative thermogenesis, except nonshivering, were suppressed by anesthesia and myorelaxation, and because brown adipose tissue is the major source of nonshivering thermoproduction, we concluded that aged mice housed at more temperature have an increased thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. This conclusion was also supported by the finding that the concentration of uncoupling protein measured in the mitochondria of brown adipose tissue after single cold exposure was significantly higher in aged than in adult mice. Therefore, we propose that the lower, cold-induced, heat production typically observed in nonanesthetized aged mice may reflect reduced thermogenic capacity of skeletal muscles. While aged mice have less brown adipose tissue than adult animals, the remaining brown adipose tissue may compensate by increasing the concentration of uncoupling protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-419
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • body temperature
  • brown adipose tissue
  • cold tolerance
  • heat production
  • mitochondria
  • rodents
  • thermogenin
  • thermoregulation
  • uncoupling protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonshivering thermogenesis during acute cold exposure in adult and aged C57BL/6J mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this