Neuronal activity underlying various phases of the mammalian hibernation cycle was investigated using the 14C-2-deoxyglucose (2DG) method. Relative 2DG uptake (R2DGU) values were computed for 96 brain regions across 7 phases of the hibernation cycle: euthermia, 3 body temperature (Tb) intervals during entrance into hibernation, stable deep hibernation, and 2 Tb intervals during arousal from hibernation. Multivariate statistical techniques were employed to identify objectively groups of brain regions whose R2DGU values showed a similar pattern across all phases of hibernation. Factor analysis revealed that most of the variability in R2DGU values for the 96 brain regions across the entire cycle could be accounted for by 3 principal factors. These factors could accurately discriminate the various phases of hibernation on the basis of the R2DGU values alone. Three hypothalamic and 3 cortical regions were identified as possibly mediating the entrance into hibernation because they underwent a change in R2DGU early in entrance into hibernation and loaded strongly on one of the principal factors. Another 4 hypothalamic regions were similarly identified as possibly causally involved in the arousal from hibernation. These results, coupled with characteristic changes in ordinal rank of the 96 brain regions in each phase of hibernation, support the concept that mammalian hibernation is an active, integrated orchestration of neurophysiological events rather than a state entered through a passive process.