author={Geoffrey P. Dobson},
  journal={Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology},
  • G. Dobson
  • Published 1 August 2003
  • Biology
  • Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
1. From the smallest shrew or bumble‐bee bat to the largest blue whale, heart size varies by over seven orders of magnitude (from 12 mg to 600 kg). This study reviews the scaling relationships between heart design, cellular bioenergetics and mitochondrial efficiencies in mammals of different body sizes. 

The Healthy Heart: Lessons from Nature's Elite Athletes.

A survey of mammalian species from 0.002-kg shrews to 43,000-kg whales shows that the human heart is more dog-like than cat-like and that neither body size nor longevity accounts for the relative vulnerability to cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic design in a mammalian model of extreme metabolism, the North American least shrew (Cryptotis parva)

It is demonstrated that liver and kidney mitochondrial content are equivalent to the heart, permitting assessment of mitochondrial adaptations in different organs with similar metabolic demand that are dependent on the topology of energy utilization process in a mammalian model of extreme metabolism.

Determinants of Cardiac Growth and Size.

The current state of knowledge regarding the extrinsic factors and intrinsic mechanisms that control heart size during development are reviewed and the metabolic switch that occurs in the heart after birth and precedes homeostatic control of postnatal heart size is discussed.

Heart rate after cardiac transplantation-lessons from the tortoise and the shrew.

This review analyzes heart rate as a contributing factor in defining the functional lifespan of the transplanted human heart, which may unavoidably determine the longevity of the recipient and proposes a significant role for heart rate in confounding the alloimmune response.

Does Size Matter?: Clinical Applications of Scaling Cardiac Size and Function for Body Size

The critical role of body size measurements in cardiovascular medicine is described and the experimental evidence, theoretical basis, and clinical application of scaling of various functional parameters are presented.

Is our heart a well-designed pump? The heart along animal evolution.

The circulatory pumping systems used in the different classes of animals, their advantages and failures, and the way they have been modified with evolution are described.

Exceptional longevity in songbirds is associated with high rates of evolution of cytochrome b, suggesting selection for reduced generation of free radicals

It is suggested that, in songbirds, the accelerated evolution of cytochrome b involved selection of mutations that reduce the generation of reactive oxygen species, thus contributing to the evolution of exceptional longevity, and possibly also exceptional long-term memory, which is necessary for learning songs.



The Fire of Life: An Introduction to Animal Energetics

A study of the evolution of bioenergetics, this book examines total starvation and the physical aspects of metabolism, as well as the metabolism of the starving animal. It discusses food as fuel and

Bioenergetic scaling: metabolic design and body-size constraints in mammals.

  • G. DobsonJ. Headrick
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1995
From the inverse relationship between mitochondrial efficiency and body size, it is calculated that tissues of small mammals are more efficient than those of large mammals in converting energy from the oxidation of foodstuffs to the bond energy of ATP.

Allometry of mammalian cellular oxygen consumption

  • R. Porter
  • Biology
    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS
  • 2001
Mitochondrial proton leak is a major factor determining the differences in basal metabolism between mammals of different body mass and liver metabolism correlates directly with liver mitochondrial inner membrane surface area.

Mammals: an allometric study of metabolism at tissue and mitochondrial level.

Small mammals had a higher mitochondrial membrane surface area per milliliter tissue than large mammals in all tissues examined, and differences were significant in liver, kidney, brain, and heart.

Body mass dependence of H+ leak in mitochondria and its relevance to metabolic rate

Proton leak decreases with increasing body mass in mammals, and it is suggested that differences in proton leak may partly explain the differences in standard metabolic rate between mammals of different mass.

Scaling, why is animal size so important?

This book discusses the size of living things, animal activity and metabolic scope, and some important concepts of body temperature and temperature regulation.

Upper limits to mass-specific metabolic rates.

  • R. Suarez
  • Biology
    Annual review of physiology
  • 1996
Design of metabolic flux capacities at the biochemical level can only be meaningfully considered in the context of design at higher levels of biological organization and maximum physiological requirements at the level of the whole organism.

Superoxide dismutase: correlation with life-span and specific metabolic rate in primate species.

The ratio of superoxide dismutase specific activity to specific metabolic rate of the tissue or of the whole adult organism was found to increase with increasing maximum lifespan potential for all the species, suggesting that longer-lived species have a higher degree of protection against by-products of oxygen metabolism.