Seasonal changes in an animal’s morphology, physiology, and behavior are considered to be an adaptive strategy for survival and reproductive success. We hypothesize that Apodemus chevrieri will change their thermogenesis seasonally and serum leptin will change with body mass or body fat mass. Seasonal variations in body mass (BM), basal metabolic rate (BMR), nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), digestive tract morphology, serum leptin and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) were measured in wild-trapped A. chevrieri in Hengduan mountain region. The results showed that the body weight of A. chevrieri was lowest in winter and highest in summer. Decreased BM in the winter was accompanied by increased energy intake and enhanced NST and UCP1 as well as by decreased body fat mass, adjusted digestive tract morphology and reduced levels of circulating leptin. Further, serum leptin were positively correlated with body weight and body fat mass, and negatively correlated with energy intake and UCP1 contents. These data suggest that wild A. chevrieri do not depend on a decrease in BM, but instead increase their thermogenic capacity to cope with cold stress. Leptin may be involved in the seasonal regulation in energy balance and thermogenesis in field A. chevrieri.
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