After a cold conditioning swim, UCP2-deficient mice are more able to defend against the cold than wild type mice

Ramy E. Abdelhamid, Katalin J. Kovács, Myra G. Nunez, Alice A. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is widely distributed throughout the body including the brain, adipose tissue and skeletal muscles. In contrast to UCP1, UCP2 does not influence resting body temperature and UCP2-deficient (-/-) mice have normal thermoregulatory responses to a single exposure to cold ambient temperatures. Instead, UCP2-deficient mice are more anxious, exhibit anhedonia and have higher circulating corticosterone than wild type mice. To test the possible role of UCP2 in depressive behavior we exposed UCP2-deficient and wild type mice to a cold (26. °C) forced swim and simultaneously measured rectal temperatures during and after the swim. The time that UCP2-deficient mice spent immobile did not differ from wild type mice and all mice floated more on day 2. However, UCP2-deficient mice were more able to defend against the decrease in body temperature during a second daily swim at 26. °C than wild type mice (area under the curve for wild type mice: 247.0. ±. 6.4; for UCP2-deficient mice: 284.4. ±. 3.8, P. <. 0.0001, Student's t test). The improved thermoregulation of wild type mice during a second swim at 26. °C correlated with their greater immobility whereas defense against the warmth during a swim at 41. °C correlated better with greater immobility of UCP2-deficient mice. Together these data indicate that while the lack of UCP2 has no acute effect on body temperature, UCP2 may inhibit rapid improvements in defense against cold, in contrast to UCP1, whose main function is to promote thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
StatePublished - Aug 12 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by NIH Grant AR056092 from the National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases .


  • Acclimation
  • Corticosterone
  • Forced swim test
  • Thermoregulation
  • UCP2-deficient
  • Uncoupling protein 2


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