Diuretic treatment affects the length of torpor bouts in hibernating European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus).

István Németh, Viktor Nyitrai, András Németh, Vilmos Altbäcker

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8 Citations (Scopus)


During the hibernation season, hibernating mammals show a sequence of torpor bouts that are interrupted by periodic arousals and brief normothermic periods. The functional significance of periodic arousals is still uncertain. We hypothesized that the imbalances in water economy may play a role in the timing of periodic arousals in hibernating species. We applied furosemide, a diuretic drug, to assess whether hibernating European ground squirrels respond to elevated urine production by shortening their torpor bouts. Urine production in the treated squirrels increased and led to more frequent arousals, presumably to restore water balance by recovery of lost water from blood and tissues. The length of the subsequent normothermic phase was not affected by the diuretic treatment. Body mass change correlated primarily with the amount of voided urine. Although our study did not identify the underlying mechanism, our results support the view that water economy, and water loss may play a role in the timing of periodic arousals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

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