Progress and challenges in analyzing rodent energy expenditure

Whole-body energy expenditure is the summed metabolic activities of tissues and, to remove the influence of body size, ratios of energy expenditure to body mass are often applied but can generate spurious differences. In 2011, a group of experts proposed adoption of ANCOVA for the analysis of metabolic rate but, seven years later, analyses based on ratios remain the most frequent. We discuss some of the barriers to adopting better analytical procedures.

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Fig. 1: Analytical aspects in rodent metabolic studies.


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R.F.V. was supported by Fondecyt #11180361 (Conicyt, Chile). J.E.G was supported by Fondecyt #1170117 (Conicyt, Chile).

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J.E.G., E.R. and J.R.S. conceived the work. R.F.V. and J.E.G. designed, acquired and analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. All authors interpreted the data, substantively reviewed the manuscript, approved the submitted version and agreed to be personally accountable for their contributions.

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Correspondence to Jose E. Galgani.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Table 1. Retrieved articles analyzing energy expenditure in mice and published between July 2012 and June 2018. Related to Fig. 1b.

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Fernández-Verdejo, R., Ravussin, E., Speakman, J.R. et al. Progress and challenges in analyzing rodent energy expenditure. Nat Methods 16, 797–799 (2019).

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