Fever in mice linked to shorter life span

November 1, 2007

Mice with shorter life spans use fever to fight infections more than longer living mice, said U.S. researchers who had expected the opposite finding.

"Fever is very costly energetically," said the study's lead author, Professor Lynn Martin of the University of South Florida. "Increasing the body temperature of a warm-blooded animal by less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit requires around a 10 percent increase in metabolic rate."

Martin tested his hypothesis that animals with short life spans commit fewer resources to fighting infections with fevers, preferentially devoting resources to breeding. He examined fever in five species of mice, some having short life spans, and others having longer life spans.

What he found was the opposite of his hypothesis. "We expected fast-living mice would be unable to invest heavily in fever given their already large investments in reproductive effort," he said.

Martin said the finding suggests the use of fever in a species might result from many factors, and that fever might only be effective in species that can withstand its high metabolic costs.

The research is reported in the British journal Functional Ecology.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Long-term study on ticks reveals shifting migration patterns, disease risks

Related Stories

Antibiotics for the prevention of malaria

July 20, 2010

If mice are administered an antibiotic for three days and are simultaneously infected with malaria, no parasites appear in the blood and life-threatening disease is averted. In addition, the animals treated in this manner ...

Study shows novel way to study human inflammatory disease

February 26, 2010

A new University of Colorado at Boulder study shows mice infected with the bacteria salmonella develop clinical signs consistent with a deadly and poorly understood human inflammatory disease, a finding that may lead to new ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.