Received March 23, 2011; Revision received June 27, 2011
Membrane lipids—phospholipids, fatty acids, and cholesterol—participate in thermal adaptation of ectotherms (bacteria, amphibians, reptiles, fishes) mainly via changes in membrane viscosity caused by the degree of fatty acids unsaturation, cholesterol/phospholipids ratio, and phospholipid composition. Studies of thermal adaptation of endotherms (mammals and birds) revealed the regulatory role of lipids in hibernation. Cholesterol and fatty acids participate in regulation of the parameters of torpor, gene expression, and activity of enzymes of lipid metabolism. Some changes in lipid metabolism during artificial and natural hypobiosis, namely, increased concentration of cholesterol and fatty acids in blood and decreased cholesterol concentration in neocortex, are analogous to those observed under stress conditions and coincide with mammalian nonspecific reactions to environmental agents. It is shown that the effects of artificial and natural hypobiosis on lipid composition of mammalian cell membranes are different. Changes in lipid composition cause changes in membrane morphology during mammalian hibernation. The effect of hypobiosis on lipid composition of membranes and cell organelles is specific and seems to be defined by the role of lipids in signaling systems. Comparative study of lipid metabolism in membranes and organelles during natural and artificial hypobiosis is promising for elucidation of adaptation of mammals to low ambient temperatures.
KEY WORDS: mammals, hibernation, artificial hypobiosis, membranes, lipids