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Plasticity in the physiological energetics of Apodemus chevrieri: the role of dietary fiber content

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Small mammals are usually adapted to cope with changes in food quality and availability. In order to investigate the adaptive strategy of small rodents responding to varying dietary fiber content, in the present study, Apodemus chevrieri individuals were acclimated to a high-fiber diet for four weeks and then a relatively low-fiber diet for another four weeks. The results show that body mass was relatively stable over the course of acclimation, but dry matter intake, gross energy intake and the mass of the digestive tract increased significantly and digestibility decreased significantly in high-fiber diet mice, while the digestible energy intake was similar for both high-fiber and low-fiber diet mice except for the first week. High-fiber/low-fiber diet mice showed only a significant lower basal metabolic rate and nonshivering thermogenesis compared to low-fiber diet mice on day R1. The high-fiber diet induced a decrease in serum leptin levels and brown adipose tissue mass associated with a reduction in the cytochrome c oxidase activity and uncoupling protein 1 content of brown adipose tissue. Body mass, thermogenic capacity, energy intake, serum leptin levels and digestive tract morphology returned to the control levels after 4 weeks of refeeding low-fiber diet. Further, serum leptin levels were positively related to body fat mass and negatively related to food intake. These data indicated that body mass, energy intake, serum leptin levels and organ morphological plasticity were the main strategies by which A. chevrieri copes with variations in dietary fiber content.

Affiliations: 1: 1Key Laboratory of Ecological Adaptive Evolution and Conservation on Animals-Plants in Southwest Mountain Ecosystem of University in Yunnan Province, School of Life Science of Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, 650500, China ; 2: 2School of Energy and Environmental Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, 650500, China

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