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Effects of temperature, steroids and castration on daily torpor in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus)

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  1. 1.

    InPhodopus sungorus the frequency and characteristics of daily torpor were not affected by a decrease in temperature. The seasonal cycle of daily torpor is essentially under photoperiodic control.

  2. 2.

    Testicular regression is a necessary condition for daily torpor occurrence. Testosterone and 5α-dihydrotestosterone administration totally inhibited daily torpor in hamsters which were exposed to short days. The temporal inhibition of torpor by steroids had no effect on the seasonal time measuring mechanism governing daily torpor.

  3. 3.

    Castration influenced certain aspects of the daily torpor display. Castrated hamsters snowed a delay in terminating torpor season lending further support to the hypothesis that recrudescence of the testis plays a role in terminating the daily torpor season. Castration, when performed before or on the day of transfer to short photoperiod led to an increase in the frequency of torpor bouts and reduce SP exposure duration which is necessary for the daily torpor season beginning.

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LP :

long photoperiod

SP :

short photoperiod

\(\dot M_{O2} \) :

oxygen uptake

T :




Cast :

castrated animals

D :

torpor duration

Mmin :

minimal metabolism

ME t :

metabolic energy saving during the torpor period

ME d :

metabolic energy saving during 24 h

Ti50 :

time of 50% of metabolic decrease

Tf50 :

time of 50% of metabolic increase

Ti :

time of torpor bout beginning


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Correspondence to A. Ouarour.

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Ouarour, A., Kirsch, R. & Pévet, P. Effects of temperature, steroids and castration on daily torpor in the Djungarian hamster (Phodopus sungorus). J Comp Physiol A 168, 477–481 (1991).

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Key words

  • Djungarian hamster
  • Daily torpor
  • Photoperiod
  • Steroids
  • Castration