The influence of reproductive hormones on the torpor patterns of the marsupial Sminthopsis macroura: bet-hedging in an unpredictable environment

McAllan, B. M., Feay, N., Bradley, A. J. and Geiser, F. (2012) The influence of reproductive hormones on the torpor patterns of the marsupial Sminthopsis macroura: bet-hedging in an unpredictable environment. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 179 2: 265-276. doi:10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.08.024


Author McAllan, B. M.
Feay, N.
Bradley, A. J.
Geiser, F.
Title The influence of reproductive hormones on the torpor patterns of the marsupial Sminthopsis macroura: bet-hedging in an unpredictable environment
Journal name General and Comparative Endocrinology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0016-6480
1095-6840
Publication date 2012-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.08.024
Volume 179
Issue 2
Start page 265
End page 276
Total pages 12
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Seasonal cycles of reproduction are common in many mammals and these are combined with the necessary energy budgeting for thermoregulatory challenges. Many mammals meet the challenge of changing environmental temperatures in winter by using torpor, a controlled reduction in body temperature and metabolic rate. We aimed to determine the effects of photoperiod and reproductive hormones on the seasonal cycles of reproduction and torpor use in a marsupial that commences reproduction in winter, the stripe-faced dunnart, Sminthopsis macroura. Males and females were placed under LD 14:10 and natural reproductive hormones blocked by either flutamide (males) or mifepristone (females) or tamoxifen (females). Reproductive parameters, metabolic rate and torpor variables were determined. The same animals were then placed under LD 10:14 and given testosterone (males) or progesterone (females) or oestrogen (females). Reproductive parameters, metabolic rate and torpor variables were measured. Body mass and tail widths (fattening indicator) in males were significantly affected by testosterone, and the effects were reversed by hormone blockers. Reproductive parameters were unaffected. Resting metabolic rate and ability to use torpor were not affected by treatment in males, however torpor characteristics, especially torpor bout duration, were affected by presence of testosterone in males. In females, body mass was unaffected by hormone presence, although tail widths were affected. Disruption of reproductive cycles occurred with hormone blockers in females, however, resting metabolic rate was not affected, and only presence of progesterone affected torpor characteristics in females. Our results differ from those found for rodents, where presence of testosterone abolishes the use of torpor in males, and oestrogen inhibits torpor use in females. Our study suggests that, in this mammal, metabolic responses to the presence or absence of reproductive hormones differs between males and females, and there is no absolute endocrinologically-driven reproductive season demarcated from the torpor season.
Keyword Photoperiod
Marsupial
Torpor
Testosterone
Progesterone
Metabolic rate
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online: 5 September 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
 
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