Physiological and biochemical zoology : PBZ
During bouts of torpor, mitochondrial metabolism is known to be suppressed in the liver and skeletal muscle of hibernating mammals. This suppression is rapidly reversed during interbout euthermic (IBE) phases, when whole-animal metabolic rate and body temperature (T(b)) return spontaneously to euthermic levels. Such mitochondrial suppression may contribute significantly to energy savings, but the capacity of other tissues to suppress mitochondrial metabolism remains unclear. In this study we compared the metabolism of mitochondria from brain cortex and left ventricular cardiac muscle between animals sampled while torpid (stable T(b) near 5°C) and in IBE (stable T(b) near 37°C). Instead of isolating mitochondria using the traditional methods of homogenization and centrifugation, we permeabilized tissue slices with saponin, allowing energetic substrates and inhibitors to access mitochondria. No significant differences in state 3 or state 4 respiration were observed between torpor and IBE in either tissue. In general, succinate produced the highest oxidation rates followed by pyruvate and then glutamate, palmitoyl carnitine, and β-hydroxybutyrate. These findings suggest that there is no suppression of mitochondrial metabolism or change in substrate preference in these two tissues despite the large changes in whole-animal metabolism seen between torpor and IBE.