Redox-regulation and life-history trade-offs: scavenging mitochondrial ROS improves growth in a wild bird

Velando, A., Noguera, J.C., da Silva, A. e Kim, S.Y., 2019. Redox-regulation and life-history trade-offs: scavenging mitochondrial ROS improves growth in a wild bird. Scientific reports, 9(1), p.2203.

It has been proposed that animals usually restrain their growth because fast growth leads to an increased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS), which can damage mitochondrial DNA and promote mitochondrial dysfunction. Here, we explicitly test whether this occurs in a wild bird by supplementing chicks with a mitochondria-targeted ROS scavenger, mitoubiquinone (mitoQ), and examining growth rates and mtDNA damage. In the yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis, mitoQ supplementation increased the early growth rate of chicks but did not reduce mtDNA damage. The level of mtDNA damage was negatively correlated with chick mass, but this relationship was not affected by the mitoQ treatment. We also found that chick growth was positively correlated with both mtDNA copy number and the mitochondrial enzymatic activity of citrate synthase, suggesting a link between mitochondrial content and growth. Additionally, we found that mitoQ supplementation increased mitochondrial content (in males), altered the relationship between mtDNA copy number and damage, and downregulated some transcriptional pathways related to cell rejuvenation, suggesting that scavenging mtROS during development enhanced growth rates but at the expense of cellular turnover. Our study confirms the central role of mitochondria modulating life-history trade-offs during development by other mechanisms than mtROS-inflicted damage.


Antioxidants safeguard telomeres in bold chicks

Kim, S.-Y. & Velando, A. Antioxidants safeguard telomeres in bold chicks. Biology letters 11, 20150211 (2015).

Telomeres are sensitive to damage induced by oxidative stress, and thus it is expected that dietary antioxidants may support the maintenance of telomere length in animals, particularly those with a fast rate of life (e.g. fast metabolism, activity and growth). We tested experimentally the effect of antioxidant supplements on telomere length during early development in wild gull chicks with natural individual variations in behaviour pattern and growth rate. Proactive chicks had shorter telomeres than reactive chicks, but the penalty for the bold behaviour pattern was reduced by antioxidant supplementation. Chicks growing faster had longer telomeres during early growth, suggesting that inherited quality supports a fast life history.