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Oxidative Stress in Early Life: Associations with Sex, Rearing Conditions, and Parental Physiological Traits in Nestling Pied Flycatchers

Oxidative Stress in Early Life: Associations with Sex, Rearing Conditions, and Parental Physiological Traits in Nestling Pied Flycatchers

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 89(2): 83-92

Conditions experienced during juvenile development can affect the fitness of an organism. During early life, oxidative stress levels can be particularly high as a result of the increased metabolism and the relatively immature antioxidant system of the individual, and this may have medium- and long-term fitness consequences. Here we explore variation in levels of oxidative stress measured during early life in relation to sex, rearing conditions (hatching date and brood size), and parental condition and levels of oxidative markers in a wild population of the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) followed for 2 yr. A marker of total antioxidant status (TAS) in plasma and total levels of glutathione (GSH) in red blood cells, as well as a marker of oxidative damage in plasma lipids (malondialdehyde [MDA]), were assessed simultaneously. Our results show that nestling total GSH levels were associated with parental oxidative status, correlating negatively with maternal MDA and positively with total GSH levels of both parents, with a high estimated heritability. This suggests that parental physiology and genes could be determinants for endogenous components of the antioxidant system of the offspring. Moreover, we found that total GSH levels were higher in female than in male nestlings and that hatching date was positively associated with antioxidant defenses (higher TAS and total GSH levels). These results suggest that different components of oxidative balance are related to a variety of environmental and intrinsic--including parental--influencing factors. Future experimental studies must disentangle the relative contribution of each of these on nestling oxidative status and how the resulting oxidative stress at early phases shape adult phenotype and fitness.

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Accession: 058488610

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27082719

DOI: 10.1086/685476

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