Perinatal adaptation in mammals: the impact of metabolic rate

Singer, Dominique; Mühlfeld, Christian (2007). Perinatal adaptation in mammals: the impact of metabolic rate. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A - molecular & integrative physiology, 148(4), pp. 780-4. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier 10.1016/j.cbpa.2007.05.004

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Mammalian birth is accompanied by profound changes in metabolic rate that can be described in terms of body size relationship (Kleiber's rule). Whereas the fetus, probably as an adaptation to the low intrauterine pO2, exhibits an "inappropriately" low, adult-like specific metabolic rate, the term neonate undergoes a rapid metabolic increase up to the level to be expected from body size. A similar, albeit slowed, "switching-on" of metabolic size allometry is found in human preterm neonates whereas animals that are normally born in a very immature state are able to retard or even suppress the postnatal metabolic increase in favor of weight gain and O2 supply. Moreover, small immature mammalian neonates exhibit a temporary oxyconforming behavior which enhances their hypoxia tolerance, yet is lost to the extent by which the size-adjusted metabolic rate is "locked" by increasing mitochondrial density. Beyond the perinatal period, there are no other deviations from metabolic size allometry among mammals except in hibernation where the temporary "switching-off" of Kleiber's rule is accompanied by a deep reduction in tissue pO2. This gives support to the hypothesis that the postnatal metabolic increase represents an "escape from oxygen" similar to the evolutionary roots of mitochondrial respiration, and that the overall increase in specific metabolic rate with decreasing size might contribute to prevent tissues from O2 toxicity.

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Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy > Topographical and Clinical Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Mühlfeld, Christian










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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:55

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:17

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URI: (FactScience: 42256)

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