Hibernating Bears (Ursidae)

Metabolic Magicians of Definite Interest for the Nephrologist

Peter Stenvinkel; Alkesh H Jani; Richard J Johnson


Kidney Int. 2013;83(2):207-212. 

In This Article


Hibernating bears have developed unique mechanisms to protect their muscle, vessels, and skeleton during prolonged immobilization. Bears have also developed fascinating and ingenious ways to avoid the negative consequences of a low GFR while not excreting waste products during hibernation, when the metabolic rate is low. Collaboration between zoologists and nephrologists and engagement of comparative physiology studies (i.e., biomimicry) could result in improved treatment strategies for patients with chronic kidney disease and/or immobilization. A coordinated approach for studies of the many metabolic tricks performed by hibernating bears by relevant institutes and funding agencies (such as NIH) is warranted.