Oxidative Stress Mediates Physiological Costs of Begging in Magpie (Pica pica) Nestlings
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AutorMoreno-Rueda, Gregorio; Redondo, Tomás; Trenzado Romero, Cristina E.; Sanz Rus, Ana; Zúñiga, Jesús M.
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
Animal signaling and communicationAntioxidantsEvolutionary immunologyImmune physiologyImmune responseImmunocompetenceOxidative damageOxidative stress
Moreno-Rueda, G.; et al. Oxidative Stress Mediates Physiological Costs of Begging in Magpie (Pica pica) Nestlings. Plos One, 7(7): e40367 (2012). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/31081]
PatrocinadorGM-R was supported by the Spanish Government (Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología, “Juan de la Cierva” program), and TR was supported by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC; Proyectos Intramurales Especiales).
[Background] Theoretical models predict that a cost is necessary to guarantee honesty in begging displays given by offspring to solicit food from their parents. There is evidence for begging costs in the form of a reduced growth rate and immunocompetence. Moreover, begging implies vigorous physical activity and attentiveness, which should increase metabolism and thus the releasing of pro-oxidant substances. Consequently, we predict that soliciting offspring incur a cost in terms of oxidative stress, and growth rate and immune response (processes that generate pro-oxidants substances) are reduced in order to maintain oxidative balance. [Methodology/Principal Findings] We test whether magpie (Pica pica) nestlings incur a cost in terms of oxidative stress when experimentally forced to beg intensively, and whether oxidative balance is maintained by reducing growth rate and immune response. Our results show that begging provokes oxidative stress, and that nestlings begging for longer bouts reduce growth and immune response, thereby maintaining their oxidative status. [Conclusions/Significance] These findings help explaining the physiological link between begging and its associated growth and immunocompetence costs, which seems to be mediated by oxidative stress. Our study is a unique example of the complex relationships between the intensity of a communicative display (begging), oxidative stress, and life-history traits directly linked to viability.