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.



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  • Changes of body mass in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. The arrow indicates the time point at which HF-LF mice were switched to the LF diet. Data are means ± SE, the asterisk () indicates P<0.05.

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  • Changes of dry matter intake (DMI; A), gross energy intake (GEI; B), digestible energy intake (DEI; C) and digestibility (D) in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. The arrow indicates the time point at which HF-LF mice were switched to the LF diet. Data are means ± SE, the asterisks indicates P<0.05 () and P<0.01 (∗∗).

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  • Changes of basal metabolic rate (BMR; A) and nonshivering thermogenesis (NST; B) in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. The arrow indicates the time point at which HF-LF mice were switched to the LF diet. Data are means ± SE the asterisk () indicates P<0.05.

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  • Changes in brown adipose tissue (BAT) mass (A) and BAT content (B) in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. Data are means ± SE. Different letters above bars indicate significant differences (P<0.05).

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  • Changes of body fat mass (A), body fat content (B), serum leptin levels (C), and the correlation between body fat mass and serum leptin levels (D) in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. Data are means ± SE. Different letters above bars indicate significant differences (P<0.05).

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  • Changes of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase (Mt COX) activity (A) and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) content (B) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and the correlation between UCP1 and serum leptin levels (C) in response to high-fiber (HF) diet acclimation and restoration of the low-fiber (LF) diet in A. chevrieri. Data are means ± SE. Different letters above bars indicate significant differences (P<0.05).

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