Djungarian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) undergo bouts of daily torpor in response to reduced photoperiod. Metabolic rate, body temperature and energy cost are reduced during torpor. The present study exposed Djungarian hamsters to two different photoperiod regimes at a room temperature of 19-21°C: long photoperiod (control, 16?h:8?h light:dark, N 8) and short photoperiod (torpor, 8?h:16?h light:dark, N 8). After 14?weeks, muscle mechanics were analyzed in each group, examining both extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscle and soleus muscle from each individual. Control hamsters had significantly greater body mass (43%), EDL mass (24%), EDL length (9%) and soleus mass (48%) than the torpor hamsters. However, there were no significant differences between control and torpor groups in forearm length or soleus muscle length. There were no significant differences in either muscle between control and torpor hamsters in maximum twitch stress (force per unit area), tetanus force generation or relaxation times. Maximum soleus tetanic stress was 43% greater (P 0.039) and soleus work loop power output (P<0.001) was higher in torpor than in control hamsters. Maximum EDL tetanic stress was 26% greater in control than in torpor hamsters (P 0.046), but there was no significant effect on EDL power output (P 0.38). Rate of fatigue was not affected by torpor in either soleus or EDL muscles (P>0.43). Overall, extended use of daily torpor had no effect on the rate at which stress or work was produced in soleus and EDL muscles in Djungarian hamsters; however, torpor did increase the stress and power produced by the soleus.

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Keywords Atrophy, Fatigue resistance, Mechanics, Stress, Torpor
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Journal Journal of Experimental Biology
James, R.S. (Rob S.), Tallis, J.A. (Jason A.), Seebacher, F. (Frank), & Storey, K. (2011). Daily torpor reduces mass and changes stress and power output of soleus and EDL muscles in the Djungarian hamster, Phodopus sungorus. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214(17), 2896–2902. doi:10.1242/jeb.057877