Effects of rearing temperature on body weight and abdominal fat in male and female rats

James B. Young*, Yasunobu Shimano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Thermoregulatory mechanisms are influenced by the temperature of the postnatal environment. Animals reared in cool environments are more tolerant of cold as adults, whereas those reared in warm conditions are more tolerant of heat. Because diet-induced and thermoregulatory thermogenesis share common features, studies examined the impact of rearing temperature on weight gain and fat accumulation. Rats reared at 18°C gained more weight and accumulated more fat in abdominal depots than animals reared at 30°C when both were housed at a common temperature, responses that were exacerbated by ad libitum access to sucrose. Male rats reared at 30°C were less affected by sucrose than 18°C-reared males, whereas female rats reared at 18 or 30°C were similarly susceptible. During exposure to 18°C, fat accumulation in abdominal depots increased in males but decreased in females. These data suggest that early temperature exposure influences weight gain and fat accumulation in later life, a difference that is most apparent when animals are housed at a common temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R398-R405
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 43-2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Cold exposure
  • Dietary carbohydrates
  • Physiological adaptation
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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