Hibernating Bears Conserve Muscle Strength and Maintain Fatigue Resistance
Black bears spend several months each winter confined to a small space within their den without food or water. In nonhibernating mammals, these conditions typically result in severe muscle atrophy, causing a loss of strength and endurance. However, an initial study indicated that bears appeared to conserve strength while denning. We conducted an in vivo, nonsubjective measurement of strength, resistance to fatigue, and contractile properties on the tibialis anterior muscle of six hibernating bears during both early and late winter using a rigid leg brace and foot force plate. After 110 d of ...
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