Thermogenesis in the marsupial Sminthopsis crassicaudata: Effect of catecholamines and diet

F. Clements, P. Hope, C. Daniels, I. Chapman, G. Wittert

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) is a small carnivorous marsupial with detectable brown adipose tissue. In order to determine whether catecholamines and food intake increase thermogenesis in this species, we measured the response of oxygen consumption (V(O2)) to (i) intraperitoneal noradrenaline (0.25-4.0 mg kg-1), and (ii) food intake. The effect of nutritional status and macronutrient composition of the diet on the V(O2) response to food intake was determined by feeding both non-deprived and 24-h-food-deprived animals with either laboratory diet (1.01 Kcal g-1 (4.2 KJ g-1), 20% fat) or live mealworms (Tenebrio molitor larvae) (2.99 Kcal g-1 (12.5 KJ g-1), 30% fat). Intraperitoneal injection of noradrenaline at doses of 0.25 and 0.5 mg kg-1 increased V(O2) by 14% and 31% respectively at 30 min (P ≤ 0.05), whereas noradrenaline at 2 and 4 mg kg-1 decreased V(O2) by 10% and 31% respectively (P ≤ 0.05). Following food intake, V(O2) increased in both non-deprived (P < 0.05) and 24-h-food-deprived (P < 0.05) animals. While the magnitude of the increase in V(O2) was similar in animals fed with either laboratory diet or mealworms, both diets increased V(O2) more in non-deprived than in 24-h-food-deprived animals (P < 0.05). These results suggest that in S. crassicaudata (i) catecholamines increase thermogenesis and (ii) the magnitude of diet-induced thermogenesis is dependent on both the nutritional status of the animal and the macronutrient composition of the diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-390
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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