Glucocorticoids, aerobic physiology, and locomotor behavior in California mice

Elizabeth M. Dlugosz, Breanna N. Harris, Wendy Saltzman, Mark A. Chappell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The glucocorticoid hormones corticosterone (CORT) and cor-tisol influence numerous physiological, morphological, and behavioral functions. However, few studies have addressed possible relationships between individual differences in glucocor-ticoid concentrations and whole-animal performance or metabolism. Because CORT is important in glucose regulation and energy metabolism and can influence activity levels, we hypothesized that individual variation in baseline circulating CORT levels would correlate with individual differences in energy expenditure (routine and maximal), aerobic physiology, voluntary exercise on wheels, and organ masses. We tested this hypothesis in the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus). We collected data from 54 adult, colony-bred mice on baseline CORT levels (measured near both the circadian peak and the circadian trough), voluntary wheel running and its energetic costs, maximal oxygen consumption during forced treadmill exercise (V; O2(max)), basal metabolic rate, and relative organ masses. We found surprisingly few statistically significant relationships among CORT, energy metabolism, behavior, and organ masses, and these relationships appeared to differ between males and females. These findings suggest that individual differences in baseline CORT levels are not an important determinant of voluntary activity levels or aerobic performance in California mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-683
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


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