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Sex-specific effects of prenatal and postnatal nutritional conditions on the oxidative status of great tit nestlings


Giordano, Marta; Costantini, David; Tschirren, Barbara (2015). Sex-specific effects of prenatal and postnatal nutritional conditions on the oxidative status of great tit nestlings. Oecologia, 177(1):123-131.

Abstract

The early life period is characterized by fast growth and development, which can lead to high reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Young animals thus have to balance their investment in growth versus ROS defence, and this balance is likely mediated by resource availability. Consequently resources transferred prenatally by the mother and nutritional conditions experienced shortly after birth may crucially determine the oxidative status of young animals. Here, we experimentally investigated the relative importance of pre- and early postnatal nutritional conditions on the oxidative status of great tit nestlings (Parus major). We show that resources transferred by the mother through the egg and nutritional conditions encountered after hatching affect the oxidative status of nestling in a sex-specific way. Daughters of non-supplemented mothers and daughters which did not receive extra food during the early postnatal period had higher oxidative damage than sons, while no differences between sons and daughters were found when extra food was provided pre- or postnatally. No effect of the food supplementations on growth, fledging mass or tarsus length was observed, indicating that female nestlings maintained their investment in growth at the expense of ROS defence mechanisms when resources were limited. The lower priority of the antioxidant defence system for female nestlings was also evidenced by lower levels of specific antioxidant components. These results highlight the important role of early parental effects in shaping oxidative stress in the offspring, and show that the sensitivity to these parental effects is sex-specific.

Abstract

The early life period is characterized by fast growth and development, which can lead to high reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Young animals thus have to balance their investment in growth versus ROS defence, and this balance is likely mediated by resource availability. Consequently resources transferred prenatally by the mother and nutritional conditions experienced shortly after birth may crucially determine the oxidative status of young animals. Here, we experimentally investigated the relative importance of pre- and early postnatal nutritional conditions on the oxidative status of great tit nestlings (Parus major). We show that resources transferred by the mother through the egg and nutritional conditions encountered after hatching affect the oxidative status of nestling in a sex-specific way. Daughters of non-supplemented mothers and daughters which did not receive extra food during the early postnatal period had higher oxidative damage than sons, while no differences between sons and daughters were found when extra food was provided pre- or postnatally. No effect of the food supplementations on growth, fledging mass or tarsus length was observed, indicating that female nestlings maintained their investment in growth at the expense of ROS defence mechanisms when resources were limited. The lower priority of the antioxidant defence system for female nestlings was also evidenced by lower levels of specific antioxidant components. These results highlight the important role of early parental effects in shaping oxidative stress in the offspring, and show that the sensitivity to these parental effects is sex-specific.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:30 Dec 2014 12:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:39
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0029-8549
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation
Additional Information:The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-014-3100-x
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-014-3100-x
PubMed ID:25376155

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