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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>