Effect of reproductive experiences on energy metabolism during lactation in Eothenomys miletus

Wanlong Zhu, Hao Zhang, Jinhong Cai, Zhengkun Wang

Abstract


Energy metabolism during peak lactation were measured in Eothenomys miletus throughout the first, second, third and fourth lactation events. The present study showed that 1) food intake, litter size and mass, milk energy output (MEO), resting metabolic rate (RMR), nonshivering thermogenesis (NST) did not differ between the four bouts of lactation; 2) food intake was significantly correlated with MEO, litter mass and RMR. This suggests that E. miletus with different reproductive experiences are able to compensate for the high energy demands during peak lactation by increasing energy intake and decreasing energy expenditure associated with thermogenesis. Sustained metabolic rate (SusMR) during peak lactation may be limited by the capacity to produce milk, which is more likely consistent with the prediction of the “peripheral limitation hypothesis” rather than the “central limitation hypothesis”. Limits to SusMR may be independent of the reproductive experiences.

 

Key words: Eothenomys miletus; Lactation; Energy metabolism


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