Age-dependent allocation of carotenoids to coloration versus antioxidant defences. - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Experimental Biology Year : 2010

Age-dependent allocation of carotenoids to coloration versus antioxidant defences.


Aging is commonly attributed to age-related changes in oxidative damage due to an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and a weakened efficacy of enzymatic antioxidants. These age-related changes might therefore modify the use of dietary antioxidants, including carotenoids. As carotenoids are closely associated with the expression of secondary sexual signals, the allocation of carotenoids to sexual signal versus antioxidant defences may vary with age. In this study, we explored how carotenoid-based ornament and antioxidant activity varied with age and how an inflammatory-induced oxidative burst affected ornament and antioxidant activity across a range of ages. Using zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) as a model species, we assessed circulating carotenoids, beak coloration and the plasma antioxidant status of birds of different ages before and after an inflammatory challenge. Our results show that old individuals display similar carotenoid-based sexual signals regardless of the availability of circulating carotenoids, suggesting a terminal investment of old individuals in their last reproductive event. Additionally, we found that an inflammatory insult induced a decrease in the total antioxidant activity and in the expression of a carotenoid-based sexual signal in the oldest individuals. These results suggest that old individuals pay an extra cost of immune activation possibly because the efficiency of antioxidant machinery varies with age.
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hal-00444110 , version 1 (05-01-2010)



Julien Cote, Emilie Arnoux, Gabriele Sorci, Maria Gaillard, Bruno Faivre. Age-dependent allocation of carotenoids to coloration versus antioxidant defences.. Journal of Experimental Biology, 2010, 213 (Pt 2), pp.271-277. ⟨10.1242/jeb.035188⟩. ⟨hal-00444110⟩
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