小橋 昭彦 2006年4月19日

Seasonal hibernation in mammals is under a unique adaptation system that protects organisms from various harmful events, such as lowering of body temperature (Tb), during hibernation. However, the precise factors controlling hibernation remain unknown. We have previously demonstrated a decrease in hibernation-specific protein (HP) complex in the blood of chipmunks during hibernation. Here, HP is identified as a candidate hormone for hibernation. In chipmunks kept in constant cold and darkness, HP is regulated by an individual free-running circannual rhythm that correlates with hibernation. The level of HP complex in the brain increases coincident with the onset of hibernation. Such HP regulation proceeds independently of Tb changes in constant warmth, and Tb decreases only when brain HP is increased in the cold. Blocking brain HP activity using an antibody decreases the duration of hibernation. We suggest that HP, a target of endogenously generated circannual rhythm, carries hormonal signals essential for hibernation to the brain.

冬眠の謎解明に一歩。

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