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Effect of winter torpor upon antioxidative defence in Helix pomatia

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Arousal of land snails from torpor is inseparably connected with an increase in oxygen consumption leading to oxidative stress. Therefore, activity of antioxidant defence system (antioxidant enzymes and reduced glutathione) and degree of oxidative damage (concentration of malondialdehyde as an index of lipid peroxidation) in the snail Helix pomatia L., 1758 were tested to check whether torpid snails are able to activate their antioxidative defence against oxidative damage prior to arousal from winter torpor. Snails, which were collected from their natural habitats, were tested at the beginning, in the middle part, and at the end of winter torpor. Active snails collected in autumn and spring were taken as control groups. Snails were immediately killed and their foot, hepatopancreas, and kidney were used for the biochemical assays. Winter torpor induced significant changes in activities of the crucial antioxidant substances. The lowest activities were observed at the beginning of torpor, whereas activity of some of these enzymes was significantly enhanced prior to spring arousal. Reduced glutathione concentration did not show time-dependent changes during winter torpor. MDA (1,3-propanedial) level was elevated in the kidney and foot but was unchanged in the hepatopancreas. In conclusion, the snail H. pomatia is able to maintain REDOX balance necessary to prevent oxidative injury during arousal.

Le réveil des escargots terrestres de la torpeur est inévitablement lié à une augmentation de la consommation d’oxygène qui mène à un stress oxydatif. C’est pourquoi, nous avons déterminé l’activité du système de défense antioxydant (enzymes antioxydantes et glutathion réduit) et l’importance des dommages oxydatifs (concentration de malondialdéhyde comme indicateur de la peroxydation des lipides) chez l’escargot Helix pomatia L., 1758, afin de vérifier si les escargots en torpeur peuvent activer leur défense antioxydante contre les dommages oxydatifs avant leur réveil de la torpeur hivernale. Les escargots, récoltés dans leurs habitats naturels, ont été testés au début, au milieu et à la fin de leur torpeur hivernale. Des escargots actifs prélevés en automne et au printemps ont servi de témoins. Les escargots ont été immédiatement sacrifiés et leur pied, leur hépatopancréas et leur rein ont servi aux dosages biochimiques. La torpeur hivernale induit des changements importants dans les activités des substances antioxydantes essentielles. Les activités les plus basses s’observent au début de la torpeur, alors que l’activité de certaines de ces enzymes augmente significativement avant le réveil printanier. La concentration de glutathion réduit ne subit pas de changements en fonction du temps durant la torpeur hivernale. La concentration de MDA (1,3-propanedial) est accrue dans le rein et le pied, mais demeure inchangée dans l’hépatopancréas. L’escargot H. pomatia est donc capables de maintenir l’équilibre d’oxydo-réduction nécessaire pour éviter les dommages oxydatifs durant le réveil.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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