Oxidative costs of reproduction in mouse strains selected for different levels of food intake and which differ in reproductive performance

Aqeel H Al Jothery, Lobke M Vaanholt, Nimesh Mody, Anis Arnous, Jens Lykkesfeldt, Lutz Bünger, William G Hill, Sharon E Mitchell, David B Allison, John R Speakman

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen species has been hypothesised to underpin the trade-off between reproduction and somatic maintenance, i.e., the life-history-oxidative stress theory. Previous tests of this hypothesis have proved equivocal, and it has been suggested that the variation in responses may be related to the tissues measured. Here, we measured oxidative damage (protein carbonyls, 8-OHdG) and antioxidant protection (enzymatic antioxidant activity and serum antioxidant capacity) in multiple tissues of reproductive (R) and non-reproductive (N) mice from two mouse strains selectively bred for high (H) or low (L) food intake, which differ in their reproductive performance, i.e., H mice have increased milk energy output (MEO) and wean larger pups. Levels of oxidative damage were unchanged (liver) or reduced (brain and serum) in R versus N mice, and no differences in multiple measures of oxidative protection were found between H and L mice in liver (except for Glutathione Peroxidase), brain or mammary glands. Also, there were no associations between an individual's energetic investment (e.g., MEO) and most of the oxidative stress measures detected in various tissues. These data are inconsistent with the oxidative stress theory, but were more supportive of, but not completely consistent, with the 'oxidative shielding' hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36353
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to the animal house staff for their care of the animals. This work was supported in part by the US National Institute of Health grants R01AG043972 to J.R.S. and D.B.A. and P30AG050886 and P30DK056336 to D.B.A. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the N.I.H. or any other organization. A.H.A.J. was supported by an Iraqi government student scholarship.


  • biochemistry
  • genetics


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