Body temperature is highly regulated in mammals. However, thermal biology in smaller mammals (such as mice) is different from that in larger mammals (such as adult humans). For example, when mice are singly housed at room temperature, about half of caloric intake is burned to maintain body temperature (facultative thermogenesis), while humans require little facultative thermogenesis. Upon fasting, mice can reduce their body temperature by >10 C, while humans require extreme starvation to lower body temperature by even 1 C. We are exploring the use of body temperature as an indicator of the perceived metabolic status of the mouse. For example, what is the effect on body temperature of a genetic manipulation or drug treatment? What genetic manipulations or drug treatments cause dissociation of body temperature from nutritional status? What are the neurotransmitters and neural mechanisms involved?
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