Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ASU research shows connection between testosterone, dietary antioxidants and bird coloration

13.06.2007
New study adds to the benefits of eating your veggies

Mom may have been right all along, especially when we were hormone-raging teenagers, eat your veggies and good things will happen.

In a new physiological study of birds, a researcher at Arizona State University has found that carotenoids, the pigments that color carrots orange and corn yellow, have even deeper health benefits than originally thought. They appear to fight off the negative impacts that testosterone can have on an animal’s health.

The researchers, Kevin McGraw an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and Daniel Ardia, of Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, focused their work on zebra finches, a common domesticated pet bird originally from Australia. Carotenoids are known to play several key roles in birds and fish, including contributing to their bright colors, which acts as a signal to attract potential mates. They also act as an antioxidant in the body, which improves immune system function.

... more about:
»Antioxidant »McGraw »carotenoid »finch »testosterone

“Researchers in animal behavior often study what keeps sexual signals like bright colors or elaborate songs ‘honest,’ or why all individuals cannot produce them ad nausea and try to get mates,” said McGraw. “The reason typically is that long tails and fancy dances incur costs. Testosterone, for example, has been thought of as a double-edged sword as it relates to sexual signals, because it enhances trait production but comes at a health price to the animal.”

“This study shows that testosterone may not be as costly as previously thought, so long as animals can nutritionally offset the immune detriments of testosterone. They may even experience a net health benefit as a result,” explained McGraw, who studies the functions of naturally occurring chemicals in birds and their relationship to the birds’ colors and health.

“In the case of the zebra finch, the cost is in the pigments – having enough of them to develop a red beak and enough to combat testosterone, which you also need to be red.”

McGraw and Ardia describe their findings in “Do carotenoids buffer testosterone-induced immunosupression" An experimental test in a colorful songbird,” in the current issue (June 6, 2007) of Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society, London.

The researchers experimentally examined the relationship between testosterone, carotenoids and immune state in 35 male and female zebra finches. They surprisingly found that when they administered testosterone implants to zebra finches that it acted as a stimulant to the immune system. They went on to show that carotenoids acquired from food and circulating through the blood were changing in ways that were linked to testosterone levels. Birds who were given additional testosterone depleted their carotenoid levels and became healthier, as if they were combating testosterone directly with antioxidants.

“These findings show that there are nutrient specific mechanisms by which animals can avoid the immune costs of testosterone elevation and still keep their attractive and bright colors,” McGraw said. Most previous studies of this sort have focused on physiological or even genetic links between testosterone and health. He adds that it is worth considering the implications for human nutrition and health.

“If testosterone is having immunosuppressive effects in human men, perhaps they too could benefit from increased carotenoid intake, say, by eating more corn,” he said.

“This study certainly opens the door for future work on nutritional/antioxidant therapy for the hormonally immunocompromised,” McGraw added. “The interface between diet and health in animals is a fascinating one. But we need a much better understanding of their interactions, as with testosterone, at the molecular level.”

Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

Further reports about: Antioxidant McGraw carotenoid finch testosterone

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>