Document Detail

High prevalence of cataracts in birds with pheomelanin-based colouration.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22487483     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The crystalline lens of the eyes of vertebrates focuses light on the retina. Therefore, maintaining the lens clear is necessary for proper visual function. However, oxidative damage to proteins of the lens leads to opacification and lens dysfunction, termed cataract. Antioxidants thus have a role in avoiding the development of cataracts through their reduction of oxidative stress, and glutathione (GSH), a key intracellular antioxidant, belongs to the primary antioxidant defence mechanism of the lens. Other physiological mechanisms that require GSH may compete with the antioxidant mechanism of the eye. Pheomelanin is a main type of melanin, the most common pigment in vertebrates, and its synthesis consumes GSH. Here, we use data on 81 bird species to test the hypothesis that species producing large amounts of pheomelanin should have diminished capacity to use GSH to protect their eyes and, as a consequence, higher prevalence of cataracts. As predicted, the proportion of pheomelanic plumage was positively associated with the proportion of individuals with cataracts across species, suggesting that production of pheomelanin may have profound fitness consequences, as birds with cataracts have limited ability to perform vital activities. This constitutes the first comparative study of cataracts in wild animals.
Ismael Galván; Johannes Erritzøe; Kazumasa Wakamatsu; Anders P Møller
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-3-29
Journal Detail:
Title:  Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1531-4332     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-4-10     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9806096     Medline TA:  Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud 11, Bâtiment 362, F-91405 Orsay Cedex, France.
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