Limits to sustained energy intake IX: a review of hypotheses

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several lines of evidence indicate that animals in the wild may be limited in their maximal rates of energy intake by their intrinsic physiology rather than food availability. Understanding the limits to sustained energy intake is important because this defines an envelope within which animals must trade-off competing activities. In the first part of this review, we consider the initial ideas that propelled this area and experimental evidence connected with them. An early conceptual advance in this field was the idea that energy intake could be centrally limited by aspects of the digestive process, or peripherally limited at the sites of energy utilisation. A model system that has been widely employed to explore these ideas is lactation in small rodents. Initial studies in the late 1980s indicated that energy intake might be centrally limited, but work by Hammond and colleagues in the 1990s suggested that it was more likely that the limits were imposed by capacity of the mammary glands, and other works tended to support this view. This consensus, however, was undermined by studies that showed milk production was higher in mice at low temperatures, suggesting that the capacity of the mammary gland is not a limiting factor. In the second part of the review we consider some additional hypotheses that might explain these conflicting data. These include the heat dissipation limits hypothesis, the seasonal investment hypothesis and the saturated neural control hypothesis. Current evidence with respect to these hypotheses is also reviewed. The limited evidence presently available does not unambiguously support any one of them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-394
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Volume175
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • sustained energy intake
  • food intake
  • energy expenditure
  • heat dissipation
  • mammary gland
  • lactation
  • neuropeptides
  • hypothalamus
  • brown adipose tissue
  • leptin
  • prolactin
  • BROWN ADIPOSE-TISSUE
  • MARITIME SAND-DUNES
  • HYPOTHALAMIC NEUROPEPTIDE-Y
  • MOTHER-YOUNG CONTACT
  • PROOPIOMELANOCORTIN GENE-EXPRESSION
  • WOODMICE APODEMUS-SYLVATICUS
  • MESSENGER-RNA EXPRESSION
  • DWARF HAMSTER PHODOPUS
  • IN-SITU HYBRIDIZATION
  • LACTATING DAIRY-COWS

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