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Plasma oxidative stress in reproduction of two eusocial African mole-rat species, the naked mole-rat and the Damaraland mole-rat
Frontiers in Zoology  (IF3.172),  Pub Date : 2021-09-17, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-021-00430-z
Jacobs, Paul Juan, Hart, Daniel William, Bennett, Nigel Charles

One of the most prominent life-history trade-offs involves the cost of reproduction. Oxidative stress has been proposed to be involved in this trade-off and has been associated with reduced life span. There is currently an unclear relationship between oxidative cost and the reproduction-longevity trade-off. The current study, using a non-lethal and minimally invasive (only a single blood sample and no euthanasia) method, investigated whether an oxidative cost (oxidative stress) to reproduction would be apparent in two long-lived eusocial mole-rats, the naked mole-rat (NMR), Heterocephalus glaber, and the Damaraland mole-rat (DMR), Fukomys damarensis, where breeding colony members live longer than non-breeder conspecifics. We measured the direct redox balance in plasma by measuring the oxidative stress index (OSI) based on the ratio of total oxidant status and total antioxidant activity in breeders and non-breeders of both sexes, in the two species. NMR had significantly higher OSI between breeders and non-breeders of each sex, whereas DMR showed no significant differences except for total antioxidant capacity (TAC). The mode of reproductive suppression and the degree of reproductive investment in NMR may explain to some degree the redox balance difference between breeders and non-breeders. DMR show minimal physiological changes between breeders and non-breeders except for the mode of reproduction, which may explain some variations in TAC and TOS values, but similar OSI between breeders and non-breeders.