Life-history trade-offs between components of fitness arise because reproduction entails both gains and costs. Costs of reproduction can be divided into ecological and physiological costs. The latter have been rarely studied yet are probably a dominant component of the effect. A deeper understanding of life-history evolution will only come about once these physiological costs are better understood. Physiological costs may be direct or indirect. Direct costs include the energy and nutrient demands of the reproductive event, and the morphological changes that are necessary to facilitate achieving these demands. Indirect costs may be optional 'compensatory costs' whereby the animal chooses to reduce investment in some other aspect of its physiology to maximize the input of resource to reproduction. Such costs may be distinguished from consequential costs that are an inescapable consequence of the reproductive event. In small mammals, the direct costs of reproduction involve increased energy, protein and calcium demands during pregnancy, but most particularly during lactation. Organ remodelling is necessary to achieve the high demands of lactation and involves growth of the alimentary tract and associated organs such as the liver and pancreas. Compensatory indirect costs include reductions in thermogenesis, immune function and physical activity. Obligatory consequential costs include hyperthermia, bone loss, disruption of sleep patterns and oxidative stress. This is unlikely to be a complete list. Our knowledge of these physiological costs is currently at best described as rudimentary. For some, we do not even know whether they are compensatory or obligatory. For almost all of them, we have no idea of exact mechanisms or how these costs translate into fitness trade-offs.
Bigger animals live longer. The scaling exponent for the relationship between lifespan and body mass is between 0.15 and 0.3. Bigger animals also expend more energy, and the scaling exponent for the relationship of resting metabolic rate (RMR) to body mass lies somewhere between 0.66 and 0.8. Mass-specific RMR therefore scales with a corresponding exponent between -0.2 and -0.33. Because the exponents for mass-specific RMR are close to the exponents for lifespan, but have opposite signs, their product (the mass-specific expenditure of energy per lifespan) is independent of body mass (exponent between -0.08 and 0.08). This means that across species a gram of tissue on average expends about the same amount of energy before it dies regardless of whether that tissue is located in a shrew, a cow, an elephant or a whale. This fact led to the notion that ageing and lifespan are processes regulated by energy metabolism rates and that elevating metabolism will be associated with premature mortalitythe rate of living theory.The free-radical theory of ageing provides a potential mechanism that links metabolism to ageing phenomena, since oxygen free radicals are formed as a by-product of oxidative phosphorylation. Despite this potential synergy in these theoretical approaches, the free-radical theory has grown in stature while the rate of living theory has fallen into disrepute. This is primarily because comparisons made across classes (for example, between birds and mammals) do not conform to the expectations, and even within classes there is substantial interspecific variability in the mass-specific expenditure of energy per lifespan. Using interspecific data to test the rate of living hypothesis is, however, confused by several major problems. For example, appeals that the resultant lifetime expenditure of energy per gram of tissue is 'too variable' depend on the biological significance rather than the statistical significance of the variation observed. Moreover, maximum lifespan is not a good marker of ageing and RMR is not a good measure of total energy metabolism. Analysis of residual lifespan against residual RMR reveals no significant relationship. However, this is still based on RMR.A novel comparison using daily energy expenditure (DEE), rather than BMR, suggests that lifetime expenditure of energy per gram of tissue is NOT independent of body mass, and that tissue in smaller animals expends more energy before expiring than tissue in larger animals. Some of the residual variation in this relationship in mammals is explained by ambient temperature. In addition there is a significant negative relationship between residual lifespan and residual daily energy expenditure in mammals. A potentially much better model to explore the links of body size, metabolism and ageing is to examine the intraspecific links. These studies have generated some data that support the original rate of living theory and other data that conflict. In particular several studies have shown that manipulating animals to expend more or less energy ...
We present a consolidated view of the complexity and challenges of designing studies for measurement of energy metabolism in mouse models, including a practical guide to the assessment of energy expenditure, energy intake and body composition and statistical analysis thereof. We hope this guide will facilitate comparisons across studies and minimize spurious interpretations of data. We recommend that division of energy expenditure data by either body weight or lean body weight and that presentation of group effects as histograms should be replaced by plotting individual data and analyzing both group and body-composition effects using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
Hypothalamic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been suggested to act as a key sensing mechanism, responding to hormones and nutrients in the regulation of energy homeostasis. However, the precise neuronal populations and cellular mechanisms involved are unclear. The effects of long-term manipulation of hypothalamic AMPK on energy balance are also unknown. To directly address such issues, we generated POMCα2KO and AgRPα2KO mice lacking AMPKα2 in proopiomelanocortin-(POMC-) and agouti-related protein-expressing (AgRP-expressing) neurons, key regulators of energy homeostasis. POMCα2KO mice developed obesity due to reduced energy expenditure and dysregulated food intake but remained sensitive to leptin. In contrast, AgRPα2KO mice developed an age-dependent lean phenotype with increased sensitivity to a melanocortin agonist. Electrophysiological studies in AMPKα2-deficient POMC or AgRP neurons revealed normal leptin or insulin action but absent responses to alterations in extracellular glucose levels, showing that glucose-sensing signaling mechanisms in these neurons are distinct from those pathways utilized by leptin or insulin. Taken together with the divergent phenotypes of POMCα2KO and AgRPα2KO mice, our findings suggest that while AMPK plays a key role in hypothalamic function, it does not act as a general sensor and integrator of energy homeostasis in the mediobasal hypothalamus.
Recent evidence suggests that alterations in insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) signaling (IIS) can increase mammalian life span. For example, in several mouse mutants, impairment of the growth hormone (GH)/IGF1 axis increases life span and also insulin sensitivity. However, the intracellular signaling route to altered mammalian aging remains unclear. We therefore measured the life span of mice lacking either insulin receptor substrate (IRS) 1 or 2, the major intracellular effectors of the IIS receptors. Our provisional results indicate that female Irs1-/- mice are long-lived. Furthermore, they displayed resistance to a range of age-sensitive markers of aging including skin, bone, immune, and motor dysfunction. These improvements in health were seen despite mild, lifelong insulin resistance. Thus, enhanced insulin sensitivity is not a prerequisite for IIS mutant longevity. Irs1-/- female mice also displayed normal anterior pituitary function, distinguishing them from long-lived somatotrophic axis mutants. In contrast, Irs2-/- mice were short-lived, whereas Irs1+/- and Irs2+/- mice of both sexes showed normal life spans. Our results therefore suggest that IRS1 signaling is an evolutionarily conserved pathway regulating mammalian life span and may be a point of intervention for therapies with the potential to delay age-related processes.
Summary1. The role of energy in ecological processes has hitherto been considered primarily from the standpoint that energy supply is limited. That is, traditional resource-based ecological and evolutionary theories and the recent 'metabolic theory of ecology' (MTE) all assume that energetic constraints operate on the supply side of the energy balance equation. 2. For endothermic animals, we provide evidence suggesting that an upper boundary on total energy expenditure is imposed by the maximal capacity to dissipate body heat and therefore avoid the detrimental consequences of hyperthermia -the heat dissipation limit (HDL) theory. We contend that the HDL is a major constraint operating on the expenditure side of the energy balance equation, and that processes that generate heat compete and trade-off within a total boundary defined by heat dissipation capacity, rather than competing for limited energy supply. 3. The HDL theory predicts that daily energy expenditure should scale in relation to body mass (M b ) with an exponent of about 0AE63. This contrasts the prediction of the MTE of an exponent of 0AE75. 4. We compiled empirical data on field metabolic rate (FMR) measured by the doubly-labelled water method, and found that they scale to M b with exponents of 0AE647 in mammals and 0AE658 in birds, not significantly different from the HDL prediction (P > 0AE05) but lower than predicted by the MTE (P < 0AE001). The same statistical result was obtained using phylogenetically independent contrasts analysis. Quantitative predictions of the model matched the empirical data for both mammals and birds. There was no indication of curvature in the relationship between Log e FMR and Log e M b . 5. Together, these data provide strong support for the HDL theory and allow us to reject the MTE, at least when applied to endothermic animals. 6. The HDL theory provides a novel conceptual framework that demands a reframing of our views of the interplay between energy and the environment in endothermic animals, and provides many new interpretations of ecological and evolutionary phenomena.
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