Post-natal exposure to corticosterone affects standard metabolic rate in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

K. A. Spencer, S. Verhulst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Post-natal stress has been shown to have important short and long term effects on many adult traits in birds. During stress, metabolic alterations often result in the mobilization of energy away from energy-sensitive functions such as growth, which could have significant implications for developing animals. However, little is known about the implications of stress hormones for energy consumption in growing individuals. We experimentally increased corticosterone (CORT) levels in nestling zebra finches via oral administration, between the ages of 7 and 18 days. The standard metabolic rate (SMR) of birds was measured twice overnight when birds were between 11-13 and 55-65 days of age. Developmental CORT administration significantly elevated overnight variability in SMR (sd) in nestling birds (during the treatment period), but not at 55-65 days (5-6 weeks after the treatment period). The effect on variability was seen more prominently in birds from larger brood sizes and in females. We found no effects of our treatments on mean SMR overnight. However, brood size and sex had interactive effects, with males from larger brood sizes having higher SIVIR at 55-65 days of age. These results suggest that stress hormones can have significant effects on energy metabolism and possibly nocturnal arousal and sleep fragmentation. However, there were no detectable long term effects of our treatments on SIVIR, suggesting that these effects are only short-lived, in order to maintain homeostasis in the short term. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-256
Number of pages7
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Volume159
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Metabolism
  • Sleep
  • Arousal
  • Stress hormones
  • Behavior
  • Metabolic regulation
  • WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS
  • DEVELOPMENTAL STRESS
  • BODY-COMPOSITION
  • BROOD SIZE
  • PLASMA-CORTICOSTERONE
  • RESTRAINT STRESS
  • ALLOSTATIC LOAD
  • PASSERINE BIRDS
  • HATCHING ORDER
  • HONEST SIGNAL

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