MadSci Network: Development

Re: Do hibernating animals continue to age during hibernation?

Date: Wed Mar 10 11:57:42 2004
Posted By: Chris Reigstad, Grad student, Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University in St. Louis
Area of science: Development
ID: 1078788920.Dv

Greetings, Jean Luc!

Q: Do hibernating animals continue to age besides from the forces of gravity while 
in hibernation?
A: Yes, not even hibernation can stop the aging process. However, links to 
hibernation and aging are relatively scare. It has been shown in many different animals that 
caloric restriction increases lifespan. Moreove, it has been speculated that hibernation may 
provide a natural example of caloric restriction, which is known to increase longevity 
( - PMID: 12882342 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]). Hibernation can 
dramatically slow metabolism, which may decrease the generation of free oxygen radicals 
that shorten lifespan. This, however, remains a hotly contested issue, and the precise 
mechanism(s) of aging have yet to be well defined. So, it is possible that hibernation slows 
the aging process, but it cannot stop the process completely.

Q: Are they stuck in a developmental stasis?
A: No, even hibernating animals are developing, in the sense that their cells continue to be 
active (e.g., the replacement of dead/dying cells by "stem" cells is an ongoing process). 
Certain developmental processes may be slowed or "in stasis," as you put it, but 
development with persist in one form or another, despite hibernation.

For more basic information, look up hibernation in an encyclopedia, for example:

For more advanced research on hibernation, some interesting work can be found at: (keyword: hibernation)

Hope this helps,
Chris Reigstad

Current Queue | Current Queue for Development | Development archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Development.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2003. All rights reserved.