Cold tolerance and metabolic heat production in male C57BL/6J mice at different times of day

Mark I. Talan, Hal M. Tatelman, Bernard T. Engel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Nine-month-old male C57BL/6J mice were subjected to three-hour cold stress tests (partial restraint at 6°C) at 9:00 a.m. or at 1:00 p.m. Tests were repeated three times at two-week intervals at the same time of day. Body temperature was measured by colonic thermoprobe, and metabolic heat production was measured by indirect calorimetry during each test. All mice showed habituation to repeated cold exposures (an improvement of cold tolerance across tests) due to an increase in metabolic heat production. The levels of metabolic heat production were similar during morning and afternoon testing; however, mice tested in the afternoon had consistently poorer cold tolerance, which indicated increased heat loss. Increased heat loss in mice of similar body weight and presumably similar body composition, suggests that there is less effective cold-induced skin vasoconstriction during the afternoon. We hypothesize that the compromised skin vasomotor response during the afternoon cold exposure results from competing effects of vasodilation due to local autoregulation stimulated by a circadian reduction of cardiac output during the sleep phase, and vasoconstriction due to the cold stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-616
Number of pages4
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Body temperature
  • Cold exposure
  • Diurnal
  • Habituation
  • Thermogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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