Effects Of Diets Rich In Saturated And Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids On Performance Of Mus Musculus In Warm And Cold Environments

Document Type

Poster Session

Publication Date


Published In

Integrative And Comparative Biology


The homeoviscous adaptation hypothesis predicts that cell membranes should incorporate higher proportions of unsaturated fatty acids at lower temperatures to counteract cold-induced increases in membrane viscosity and thus to maintain membrane function. In a previous experiment in our laboratory, the obligate homeotherm, Mus musculus, increased its preference for a diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) when exposed to cold. However, cold-induced changes in diet preference over three weeks were not associated with improved performance in the cold, nor were there substantial differences in membrane composition after this three-week period. In the current experiment, mice in each of three treatment groups (N = 15 in each group) were fed a single diet [chow rich in n-3 PUFAs, in n-6 PUFAs, or saturated fatty acids (SFAs), respectively] for ten weeks at 23 C. Grip strength, memory, and nocioception were then tested in each diet group at 5 C and at 23 C; fatty acid composition of their membranes was also assayed. While some trends were consistent with the homeoviscous adaptation hypothesis, preliminary analysis showed no significant effects of diet or temperature on most measures of performance. Further studies are needed to determine the function of cold-enhanced preference for PUFAs in this species.


SICB 2009 Annual Meeting

Conference Dates

January 3-7, 2009

Conference Location

Boston, MA