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Variation in the chemical composition of adipose tissue of three species of ursids

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The relationship between the water content and lipid content of adipose tissue was compared between 25 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and 25 black bears (Ursus americanus) to determine if it was affected by species differences in the fatty-acid composition of adipose tissue. The adipose tissue of polar bears had a lower water content and a higher proportion of long-chain fatty acids than did the adipose tissue of black bears, when compared at equal lipid content. The relationship between the body water and lipid contents was also compared among 11 polar bears, 18 black bears, and 6 brown bears (Ursus arctos) to determine if this relationship could be affected by species differences in the relationship between the water and lipid contents of adipose tissue. The body-water content in marine (polar) bears was less than that in terrestrial (black and brown) bears, and the differences in body-water content between the two groups became more apparent as the body-lipid content increased. These results suggest that the fatty-acid composition of adipose tissue can affect the body-water content, especially in fat bears. These findings have implications for the use of isotope-dilution models to predict body composition in bears.

La relation entre le contenu hydrique et le contenu lipidique du tissu adipeux a été comparée chez 25 Ours blancs (Ursus maritimus) et 25 Ours noirs (Ursus americanus) afin de déterminer si elle est affectée par les différences spécifiques dans la composition en acides gras du tissu adipeux. Le tissu adipeux a un contenu hydrique plus faible et une proportion plus élevée d'acides gras à chaînes longues chez l'Ours blanc que chez l'Ours noir lorsque les tissus adipeux comparés ont des teneurs égales de lipides. La relation entre le contenu hydrique et le contenu lipidique du corps a également été comparée chez 11 Ours blancs, 18 Ours noirs et 6 Ours bruns (Ursus arctos) pour déterminer si cette relation peut être affectée par des différences spécifiques dans la relation entre les contenus lipidique et hydrique du tissu adipeux. Le contenu hydrique du corps de l'Ours blanc, espèce marine, est inférieur à celui des ours terrestres (noir et brun) et les différences de contenus hydriques corporels entre les deux groupes s'accentuent à mesure qu'augmente le contenu corporel en lipides. Ces résultats indiquent que la composition en acides gras du tissu adipeux peut affecter le contenu hydrique du corps, particulièrement chez les animaux gras. Ces données influenceront l'utilisation des modèles de dilution des isotopes pour prédire la composition corporelle des ours.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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