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  • 1 Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Systematic Zoology and Ecology, Eötvös Loránd University H-1117 Budapest, Pázmány P. sétány 2, Hungary
  • 2 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University Budapest, Hungary
  • 3 Department of Genetics, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary
  • 4 Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Pécs Pécs, Hungary
  • 5 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University Budapest, Hungary
  • 6 Behavioural Ecology Group, Department of Systematic Zoology and Ecology, Eötvös Loránd University H-1117 Budapest, Pázmány P. sétány 2, Hungary
  • 7 Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University Budapest, Hungary
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The basic patterns of thyroid hormones [thyroxine (T4) and 3,3',5-triiodothyronine (T3)] and the T4 and T3 responses induced by thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) are reported in captive female barn owls (Tyto alba) during the non-breeding period. The main findings of the study, conducted on a total of 10 owls, are as follow: (1) The thyroid gland of barn owl can be stimulated by the classical TRH stimulation test. (2) T3 response was much more pronounced both under cold (around 10°C) and warm (around 20°C) conditions, whereas T4 response ranged so widely that we could not point out any significant change in it. (3) Basal T3 plasma level was significantly (p = 0.036) higher in birds exposed to cold temperature, and they responded to TRH treatment with a lower plasma T3 elevation than the birds kept in a warm chamber. This pattern, however, cannot be explained by increased food intake, but is in agreement with the fact that enhanced T3 level may account for higher avUCP mRNA expression, which results in higher heat production on the cell level. From the results it is concluded that altering T3 plasma level plays a significant role in cold-induced thermoregulation.

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