C57BL/6J male mice of different ages were movement-restricted and exposed to 10°C for 3-hr periods every other week while colonic temperature was measured. A longitudinal trend in cold tolerance related to age and to initial colonic temperature was demonstrated. Adaptative thermoregulatory changes during cold exposure occurred during the first two tests. These were similar for all age groups except 30-month-old mice. There was no adaptation of colonic temperature during cold exposure among aged mice with repeated testing; however, their baseline colonic temperatures prior to testing increased after the first two tests. This finding suggests that old animals adjust to repeated cold stress differently than do younger mice. Specifically, younger animals are capable of adjusting their thermoregulatory responses during cold stress with no change in baseline (pre-stress) temperature. Old animals do not modify the responses emitted during the stress; however, they do adapt by raising their baseline temperatures. Repeated cold exposure started later in life increased mortality among old animals but did not affect maximum lifespan.
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