Hibernation, as behavior, is an evolutionary mode of adaptation of animal species to unfavorable environmental conditions. It is generally characterized by suppressed metabolism, which also includes down regulation of the energy consuming ion-channel functioning. Experimental data regarding decreased ion-channel function are scarce. Therefore, our goal was to study the possible down regulation of voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV) subtypes in the neurons of hibernating snails. Our immunohistochemical experiments revealed that the expression of NaV1.8-like channels in the central nervous system was substantially down regulated in hibernating animals. In contrast to NaV1.8-like, the NaV1.9-like channels were present in neurons independently from hibernating and non-hibernating states. Our western blot data supported the immunohistochemical results according to which the band of the NaV1.8-like channel protein was less intensively labeled in the homogenate of the hibernating snails. The NaV1.9-like immunoreactivity was equally present both in hibernating and active snails. Micro-electrophysiological experiments show that in hibernating snails both NaV1.8- and NaV1.9-like currents are substantially decreased compared to that of the active snails. The contradictory electrophysiological and immunohistochemical or western blot data suggest that the molecular mechanisms of the "channel arrest" could be different in diverse NaV channel subtypes. Climate changes will affect temperature extremes and a question is how different species beyond their physiological tolerance will or able to adapt to changing environment. Hibernation is an important mode of adaptation to extreme climatic variations, and pursuant to this the present results may contribute to the study of the behavioral ecology.
- "Channel arrest"
- Sodium channel down-regulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience