Reproduction is associated with a tissue-dependent reduction of oxidative stress in eusocial female Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis).
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Copyright: © 2014 Schmidt et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Oxidative stress has been implicated as both a physiological cost of reproduction and a driving force on an animal's lifespan. Since increased reproductive effort is generally linked with a reduction in survival, it has been proposed that oxidative stress may influence this relationship. Support for this hypothesis is inconsistent, but this may, in part, be due to the type of tissues that have been analyzed. In Damaraland mole-rats the sole reproducing female in the colony is also the longest lived. Therefore, if oxidative stress does impact the trade-off between reproduction and survival in general, this species may possess some form of enhanced defense. We assessed this relationship by comparing markers of oxidative damage (malondialdehyde, MDA; protein carbonyls, PC) and antioxidants (total antioxidant capacity, TAC; superoxide dismutase, SOD) in various tissues including plasma, erythrocytes, heart, liver, kidney and skeletal muscle between wild-caught reproductive and non-reproductive female Damaraland mole-rats. Reproductive females exhibited significantly lower levels of PC across all tissues, and lower levels of MDA in heart, kidney and liver relative to non-reproductive females. Levels of TAC and SOD did not differ significantly according to reproductive state. The reduction in oxidative damage in breeding females may be attributable to the unusual social structure of this species, as similar relationships have been observed between reproductive and non-reproductive eusocial insects.
This research was supported by a DST-NRF SARChI research chair for Behavioural Ecology and Physiology to NCB and a University of Pretoria postdoctoral fellowship to CMS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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Vol. 9, Iss. 7 pp. e103286 -
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