Navigation Links
Red hair is a sign of oxidative stress in wild boars, but gray is a-ok
Date:7/19/2012

A coat of a certain color could be costly for wild boars, according to research published in the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

The research, led by Ismael Galvn of Spain's Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, found that boars with more reddish hair tend to have higher levels of oxidative stressdamage that occurs as toxins from cell respiration build up. The reason for this, the researchers suggest, is that the process of producing reddish pigment eats up a valuable antioxidant that would otherwise be fighting the free radicals that lead to oxidative stress.

Most of the pigment in animal skin and hair is produced by chemicals called melanins. There are two kinds of melanins: eumelanin, which produces dark colors, and pheomelanin, which produces reddish or chestnut colors. The two melanins are produced via similar chemical pathways, with an exception. The production of pheomelanin consumes a chemical called glutathione (also known as GSH), which is a powerful intracellular antioxidant.

To see if this consumption of GSH has physiological consequences, Galvn and his team studied a population of wild boars in Doana National Park in southwestern Spain. The researchers quantified the amount of reddish fur each boar had, and tested levels of GSH and oxidative stress in the muscles of each animal.

They found that the boars with the highest levels of pheomelanin in their hair tended to have lower levels of GSH in their muscles, and had the highest levels of oxidative stress. "This suggests that certain colorations may have important consequences for wild boars," Galvn said. "Pheomelanin responsible for chestnut colorations may make animals more susceptible to oxidative damage."

The results corroborate findings in other studies on birds and other animals suggesting the production of pheomelanin imposes physiological constraints. In humans, red hair and high pheomelanin in skin has been linked to higher rates of cancer. These findings raise a question: Why did pheomelanin evolve in the first place?

Galvn suggests one possible answer. While consuming GSH, pheomelanin production also consumes a chemical called cysteine, which is part of GSH and can be toxic in excess. "Pheomelanin may have evolved because cysteine, which is toxic at very high levels, is removed from cells during pheomelanin production," Galvn said.

Surprising Results for Grays

While the findings for red hair echoed results of other studies, there were some surprising results for gray hair in wild boars. Studies in humans have suggested that graying hairthe absence of melaninmay happen as a result of oxidative stress. "As with human hair, wild boars show hair graying all across their body fur," Galvn said. "But we found that boars showing hair graying were actually those in prime condition and with the lowest levels of oxidative damage. Far from being a sign of age-related decline, hair graying seems to indicate good condition in wild boars."

Research into the consequences of different levels of melanin is only just beginning, Galvn says, and he hopes this research will spur continued study.

"Given that all higher vertebrates, including humans, share the same types of melanins in skin, hair, and plumage, these results increase our scant current knowledge on the physiological consequences of pigmentation," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
401-284-3878
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. LSUHSC research finds treating stress prevented new MS brain lesions
2. NUS-led research team discovers how bacteria sense salt stress
3. Study offers new insights into the effects of stress on pregnancy
4. Low-income moms under stress may overfeed infants
5. Researcher awarded $1 million for stress-associated disease and aging research
6. Lizard moms may prepare their babies for a stressful world
7. Some corals like it hot: Heat stress may help coral reefs survive climate change
8. Scripps Research discoveries lead to newly approved drug for infant respiratory distress syndrome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2016)... SEATTLE , Jan. 25, 2016  Glencoe Software, ... biotech, pharma and publication industries, will provide the data ... Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC). ... Phenotypic analysis ... even whole organisms, allowing comparisons between states such as ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , Jan. 22, 2016 ... the addition of the "Global Biometrics ... to their offering. --> ... the "Global Biometrics Market in Retail ... --> Research and Markets ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... , Jan. 20, 2016 A market that ... directly benefit from the explosion in genomics knowledge. Learn ... Sound Research. A range of dynamic trends are pushing ... - personalized medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen evolution - ... large markets - greater understanding of the role of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Non-profit Consortium Aims to Generate Genomic ... Research and Discovery --> --> ... plan to sequence 100,000 individuals. It is intended to initially ... 7 of North and East Asian countries. ... project will focus on creating phased reference genomes for all ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Germany and GERMANTOWN, ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced ... RNA Panels for gene expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio ... The panels enable researchers to select from over 20,000 ... and discover interactions between genes, cellular phenotypes and disease ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today ... Portland, Oregon -based community care ... provide population health analytics, quality reporting and care ... FamilyCare strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts ... to the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Florida , February 11, 2016 ... PositiveID Corporation ("PositiveID" or "Company") (OTCQB: PSID), a ... announced today that its Thermomedics subsidiary, which markets ... on its growth plan in January 2016, including ... distributors, increasing sequential monthly sales growth, and establishing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: