Sperou Emily S.

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Emily S.

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  • Article
    Changes in serum adipokines during natural extended fasts in female northern elephant seals
    (Elsevier, 2021-03-27) Rzucidlo, Caroline L. ; Sperou, Emily S. ; Holser, Rachel R. ; Khudyakov, Jane I. ; Costa, Daniel P. ; Crocker, Daniel E.
    Adipose tissue is essential to endotherms for thermoregulation and energy storage as well as functioning as an endocrine organ. Adipose derived hormones, or adipokines, regulate metabolism, energy expenditure, reproduction, and immune function in model systems but are less well studied in wildlife. Female northern elephant seals (NES) achieve high adiposity during foraging and then undergo natural fasts up to five weeks long during haul-outs associated with reproduction and molting, resulting in large changes in adipose reserves. We measured circulating levels of four adipokines: leptin, resistin, adiponectin, and kisspeptin-54, in 196 serum samples from female NES at the beginning and end of their breeding and molting fasts. We examined the relationships between these adipokines and life-history stage, adiposity, mass, cortisol, and an immune cytokine involved in the innate immune response interleukin 6 (IL-6). All four adipokines varied with life-history stage. Leptin concentrations were highest at the beginning of the breeding haul-out. Resistin concentrations were higher throughout the breeding haul-out compared to the molt haul-out. Adiponectin concentrations were highest at the beginning of both haul-outs. Kisspeptin-54 concentrations were highest at the end of the breeding haul-out. Leptin, resistin, and adiponectin were associated with measures of body condition, either adiposity, mass, or both. Resistin, adiponectin, and kisspeptin-54 were associated with circulating cortisol concentrations. Resistin was strongly associated with circulating IL-6, a multifunctional cytokine. Adiponectin was associated with glucose concentrations, suggesting a potential role in tissue-specific insulin sensitivity during life-history stages categorized by high adiposity. Increased cortisol concentrations late in lactation were associated with increased kisspeptin-54, suggesting a link to ovulation initiation in NES. This study suggests dramatic changes in circulating adipokines with life-history and body condition that may exert important regulatory roles in NES. The positive relationship between adiponectin and adiposity as well as the lack of a relationship between leptin and kisspeptin-54 differed from model systems. These differences from biomedical model systems suggest the potential for modifications of expression and function of adipose-derived hormones in species that undergo natural changes in adiposity as part of their life-history.