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Oxidative stress in birds along a NOx and urbanisation gradient : An interspecific approach

Salmón, Pablo LU ; Stroh, Emilie LU ; Herrera-Dueñas, Amparo LU ; von Post, Maria LU and Isaksson, Caroline LU (2018) In Science of the Total Environment 622-623. p.635-643
Abstract

Urbanisation is regarded as one of the most threatening global issues for wildlife, however, measuring its impact is not always straight forward. Oxidative stress physiology has been suggested to be a useful biomarker of health and therefore, a potentially important indicator of the impact that urban environmental stressors, especially air pollution, can have on wildlife. For example, nitrogen oxides (NOx), released during incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, are highly potent pro-oxidants, thus predicted to affect either the protective antioxidants and/or cause oxidative damage to bio-molecules. To date, epidemiological modelling of the predicted association between oxidative stress and NOx exposure has not been... (More)

Urbanisation is regarded as one of the most threatening global issues for wildlife, however, measuring its impact is not always straight forward. Oxidative stress physiology has been suggested to be a useful biomarker of health and therefore, a potentially important indicator of the impact that urban environmental stressors, especially air pollution, can have on wildlife. For example, nitrogen oxides (NOx), released during incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, are highly potent pro-oxidants, thus predicted to affect either the protective antioxidants and/or cause oxidative damage to bio-molecules. To date, epidemiological modelling of the predicted association between oxidative stress and NOx exposure has not been performed in wild animals. Here, we address this short-coming, by investigating multiple oxidative stress markers in four common passerine bird species, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), great tit (Parus major), house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and tree sparrow (Passer montanus), living along a gradient of NOx and urbanisation levels in southern Sweden. First of all, the results revealed that long- and medium-term (one month and one week, respectively) NOx levels were highly correlated with the level of urbanisation. This confirms that the commonly used urbanisation index is a reliable proxy for urban air pollution. Furthermore, in accordance to our prediction, individuals exposed to higher long- and medium-term NOx levels/urbanisation had higher plasma antioxidant capacity. However, only tree sparrows showed higher oxidative damage (protein carbonyls) in relation to NOx levels and this association was absent with urbanisation. Lipid peroxidation, glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels did not co-vary with NOx/urbanisation. Given that most oxidative stress biomarkers showed strong species-specificity, independent of variation in NOx/urbanisation, the present study highlights the need to study variation in oxidative stress across contexts, seasons and life-stages in order to understand how the ecology and phylogeny of species interact to affect species resilience to urban environmental stress.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Air pollution, Antioxidants, Biomarkers, Birds, Nitrogen oxides, Oxidative damage
in
Science of the Total Environment
volume
622-623
pages
9 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85037543743
ISSN
0048-9697
DOI
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.354
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ed159552-4b6d-49fc-906e-bc813175e639
date added to LUP
2017-12-20 13:47:08
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:29:23
@article{ed159552-4b6d-49fc-906e-bc813175e639,
  abstract     = {<p>Urbanisation is regarded as one of the most threatening global issues for wildlife, however, measuring its impact is not always straight forward. Oxidative stress physiology has been suggested to be a useful biomarker of health and therefore, a potentially important indicator of the impact that urban environmental stressors, especially air pollution, can have on wildlife. For example, nitrogen oxides (NO<sub>x</sub>), released during incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, are highly potent pro-oxidants, thus predicted to affect either the protective antioxidants and/or cause oxidative damage to bio-molecules. To date, epidemiological modelling of the predicted association between oxidative stress and NO<sub>x</sub> exposure has not been performed in wild animals. Here, we address this short-coming, by investigating multiple oxidative stress markers in four common passerine bird species, the blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), great tit (Parus major), house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and tree sparrow (Passer montanus), living along a gradient of NO<sub>x</sub> and urbanisation levels in southern Sweden. First of all, the results revealed that long- and medium-term (one month and one week, respectively) NO<sub>x</sub> levels were highly correlated with the level of urbanisation. This confirms that the commonly used urbanisation index is a reliable proxy for urban air pollution. Furthermore, in accordance to our prediction, individuals exposed to higher long- and medium-term NO<sub>x</sub> levels/urbanisation had higher plasma antioxidant capacity. However, only tree sparrows showed higher oxidative damage (protein carbonyls) in relation to NO<sub>x</sub> levels and this association was absent with urbanisation. Lipid peroxidation, glutathione and superoxide dismutase levels did not co-vary with NO<sub>x</sub>/urbanisation. Given that most oxidative stress biomarkers showed strong species-specificity, independent of variation in NO<sub>x</sub>/urbanisation, the present study highlights the need to study variation in oxidative stress across contexts, seasons and life-stages in order to understand how the ecology and phylogeny of species interact to affect species resilience to urban environmental stress.</p>},
  author       = {Salmón, Pablo and Stroh, Emilie and Herrera-Dueñas, Amparo and von Post, Maria and Isaksson, Caroline},
  issn         = {0048-9697},
  keyword      = {Air pollution,Antioxidants,Biomarkers,Birds,Nitrogen oxides,Oxidative damage},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {635--643},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Science of the Total Environment},
  title        = {Oxidative stress in birds along a NO<sub>x</sub> and urbanisation gradient : An interspecific approach},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.354},
  volume       = {622-623},
  year         = {2018},
}