Meeting Abstract

117.1  Saturday, Jan. 7  Experimental supplementation with antioxidants reduces reproduction-associated oxidative damage in breeding male Florida Scrub-Jays HEISS, Rebecca S. *; SCHOECH, Stephan J.; University of Memphis; University of Memphis

Oxidative damage results from the inability of an organism to cope with reactive oxygen species. Previously, we found that male Florida Scrub-Jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) with elevated oxidative damage levels during the pre-breeding period had lower reproductive effort. A significant increase in oxidative damage levels from pre-reproduction to post-reproduction was also found exclusively in males. We experimentally assessed these correlations through supplementation with antioxidants. Thirty male breeders were equally divided and either supplemented with an antioxidant enhanced cat food, a non-antioxidant enhanced cat food, or were not supplemented. Plasma was collected for males in each treatment group, both prior to, and post reproduction. Oxidative damage to DNA and proteins was assessed in each bird. Plasma was further subjected to an oxidative attack to determine total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Supplemented males demonstrated significantly higher levels of reproductive effort relative to control males, however, there was no statistical difference between the effort of males in either of the supplemented groups (antioxidant enhanced or not). Similarly, when controlling for reproductive effort, antioxidant supplemented males had significantly lower levels of oxidative damage to proteins post-reproduction than males in either of the other treatment groups. Relatively higher levels of damage to DNA prior to breeding, predicted higher reproductive effort independent of treatment group. For control groups, reproduction significantly lowered resistance to an oxidative attack, however, birds supplemented with antioxidants had similar TAC levels prior to, and post reproduction.