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Antioxidant responses to variations of oxygen by the Harderian gland of different species of the superspecies Spalax ehrenbergi

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The subterranean blind mole rats of the superspecies Spalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) have developed several strategies to cope with changing concentrations of underground oxygen. Such an atmosphere induces the generation of reactive oxygen species that can cause oxidative damage without proper control. To understand how S. ehrenbergi appear to be able to counteract the free radicals and avoid oxidative damage, we studied the oxidative status of the Harderian gland (an organ particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress in many rodents) in two species of the superspecies S. ehrenbergi (Spalax galili and Spalax judaei) under different oxygen concentration levels, paying special attention to the antioxidant defences developed by these animals and the resulting macromolecular damage. The results presented herein reinforce the idea that S. ehrenbergi deal better with hypoxic conditions than other rodents by regulating the activity of its antioxidant enzymes. Moreover, S. galili is better adapted to hypoxic conditions, whereas S. judaei appears to be better adapted to hyperoxic conditions.

Les rats-taupes aveugles et fouisseurs de la super-espèce Spalax ehrenbergi (Nehring, 1898) ont adopté plusieurs stratégies pour faire face aux changements de concentrations d’oxygène sous terre. Une telle atmosphère induit la production d’espèces réactives d’oxygène qui, sans contrôle approprié, peuvent causer des dommages oxydatifs. Afin de comprendre comment S. ehrenbergi semble être capable de contrer les radicaux libres et éviter ainsi les dommages oxydatifs, nous avons étudié le statut oxydatif de la glande de Harder (un organe particulièrement vulnérable au stress oxydatif chez plusieurs rongeurs) chez deux espèces de S. ehrenbergi (soit Spalax galili et Spalax judaei) sous diverses concentrations d’oxygène, en tenant compte particulièrement des défenses antioxydantes développées par ces animaux et du dommage macromoléculaire produit. Nos résultats appuient la proposition selon laquelle S. ehrenbergi fait mieux face aux conditions hypoxiques que les autres rongeurs en régulant l’activité de ses enzymes antioxydantes. De plus, S. galili est mieux adapté aux conditions hypoxiques, alors que S. judaei semble mieux adapté aux conditions hyperoxiques.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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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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