Influence of elevated temperature on metabolism during aestivation: implications for muscle disuse atrophy

Karen M Young, Rebecca L Cramp, C.R. White, Craig E Franklin

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Reactive oxygen species (ROS), produced commensurate with aerobic metabolic rate, contribute to muscle disuse atrophy (MDA) in immobilised animals by damaging myoskeletal protein and lipids. Aestivating frogs appear to avoid MDA in part by substantially suppressing metabolic rate. However, as ectotherms, metabolic rate is sensitive to environmental temperature, and the high ambient temperatures that may be experienced by frogs during aestivation could in fact promote MDA. In this study, we investigated the effect of temperature on the metabolic rate of the aestivating frog Cyclorana alboguttata and its skeletal muscles in order to determine their likely susceptibility to MDA. Compared with non-aestivating frogs, a significant decrease in metabolic rate was recorded for aestivating frogs at 20, 24 and 30°C. At 30°C, however, the metabolic rate of aestivating frogs was significantly higher, approximately double that of frogs aestivating at 20 or 24°C, and the magnitude of the metabolic depression was significantly reduced at 30°C compared with that at 20°C. Temperature effects were also observed at the tissue level. At 24 and 30°C the metabolic rate of all muscles from aestivating frogs was significantly depressed compared with that of muscles from non-aestivating frogs. However, during aestivation at 30°C the metabolic rates of gastrocnemius, sartorius and cruralis were significantly elevated compared with those from frogs aestivating at 24°C. Our data show that the metabolism of C. alboguttata and its skeletal muscles is elevated at higher temperatures during aestivation and that the capacity of the whole animal to actively depress metabolism is impaired at 30°C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3782-3789
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aestivation
  • Amphibian
  • Dormancy
  • Muscle disuse atrophy
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Skeletal muscle

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