Senescence in cell oxidative status in two bird species with contrasting life expectancy

Pierre Bize*, Sophie Cotting, Godefroy Devevey, Juan van Rooyen, Fabrice Lalubin, Olivier Glaizot, Philippe Christe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Oxidative stress occurs when the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by an organism exceeds its capacity to mitigate the damaging effects of the ROS. Consequently, oxidative stress hypotheses of ageing argue that a decline in fecundity and an increase in the likelihood of death with advancing age reported at the organism level are driven by gradual disruption of the oxidative balance at the cellular level. Here, we measured erythrocyte resistance to oxidative stress in the same individuals over several years in two free-living bird species with contrasting life expectancy, the great tit (known maximum life expectancy is 15.4 years) and the Alpine swift (26 years). In both species, we found evidence for senescence in cell resistance to oxidative stress, with patterns of senescence becoming apparent as subjects get older. In the Alpine swift, there was also evidence for positive selection on cell resistance to oxidative stress, the more resistant subjects being longer lived. The present findings of inter-individual selection and intra-individual deterioration in cell oxidative status at old age in free-living animals support a role for oxidative stress in the ageing of wild animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1105
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Early online date30 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • ageing
  • antioxidant defences
  • free radical theory of ageing
  • life history theory
  • oxidative stress
  • long-lived bird
  • free-radicals
  • reproductive-performance
  • history evolution
  • alpine swift
  • parus-major
  • stress
  • age
  • erythrocytes
  • resistance


Dive into the research topics of 'Senescence in cell oxidative status in two bird species with contrasting life expectancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this