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No evidence that carotenoid pigments boost either immune or antioxidant defenses in a songbird

Koch, Rebecca E.; Kavazis, Andreas N.; Hasselquist, Dennis LU ; Hood, Wendy R.; Zhang, Yufeng; Toomey, Matthew B. and Hill, Geoffrey E. (2018) In Nature Communications 9(1).
Abstract

Dietary carotenoids have been proposed to boost immune system and antioxidant functions in vertebrate animals, but studies aimed at testing these physiological functions of carotenoids have often failed to find support. Here we subject yellow canaries (Serinus canaria), which possess high levels of carotenoids in their tissue, and white recessive canaries, which possess a knockdown mutation that results in very low levels of tissue carotenoids, to oxidative and pathogen challenges. Across diverse measures of physiological performance, we detect no differences between carotenoid-rich yellow and carotenoid-deficient white canaries. These results add further challenge to the assumption that carotenoids are directly involved in supporting... (More)

Dietary carotenoids have been proposed to boost immune system and antioxidant functions in vertebrate animals, but studies aimed at testing these physiological functions of carotenoids have often failed to find support. Here we subject yellow canaries (Serinus canaria), which possess high levels of carotenoids in their tissue, and white recessive canaries, which possess a knockdown mutation that results in very low levels of tissue carotenoids, to oxidative and pathogen challenges. Across diverse measures of physiological performance, we detect no differences between carotenoid-rich yellow and carotenoid-deficient white canaries. These results add further challenge to the assumption that carotenoids are directly involved in supporting physiological function in vertebrate animals. While some dietary carotenoids provide indirect benefits as retinoid precursors, our observations suggest that carotenoids themselves may play little to no direct role in key physiological processes in birds.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Nature Communications
volume
9
issue
1
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:85041665228
ISSN
2041-1723
DOI
10.1038/s41467-018-02974-x
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bd4ac3fd-e844-4182-90cb-6f74c3c51407
date added to LUP
2018-02-20 07:48:59
date last changed
2018-05-29 11:14:34
@article{bd4ac3fd-e844-4182-90cb-6f74c3c51407,
  abstract     = {<p>Dietary carotenoids have been proposed to boost immune system and antioxidant functions in vertebrate animals, but studies aimed at testing these physiological functions of carotenoids have often failed to find support. Here we subject yellow canaries (Serinus canaria), which possess high levels of carotenoids in their tissue, and white recessive canaries, which possess a knockdown mutation that results in very low levels of tissue carotenoids, to oxidative and pathogen challenges. Across diverse measures of physiological performance, we detect no differences between carotenoid-rich yellow and carotenoid-deficient white canaries. These results add further challenge to the assumption that carotenoids are directly involved in supporting physiological function in vertebrate animals. While some dietary carotenoids provide indirect benefits as retinoid precursors, our observations suggest that carotenoids themselves may play little to no direct role in key physiological processes in birds.</p>},
  articleno    = {491},
  author       = {Koch, Rebecca E. and Kavazis, Andreas N. and Hasselquist, Dennis and Hood, Wendy R. and Zhang, Yufeng and Toomey, Matthew B. and Hill, Geoffrey E.},
  issn         = {2041-1723},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {1},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Communications},
  title        = {No evidence that carotenoid pigments boost either immune or antioxidant defenses in a songbird},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-02974-x},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2018},
}