Coping with salt water habitats: metabolic and oxidative responses to salt intake in the rufous-collared sparrow
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Many physiological adjustments occur in response to salt intake in several marine taxa, which manifest at different scales from changes in the concentration of individual molecules to physical traits of whole organisms. Little is known about the influence of salinity on the distribution, physiological performance, and ecology of passerines; specifically, the impact of drinking water salinity on the oxidative status of birds has been largely ignored. In this study, we evaluated whether experimental variations in the salt intake of a widely-distributed passerine (Zontotrichia capensis) could generate differences in basal (BMR) and maximum metabolic rates (M-sum), as well as affect metabolic enzyme activity and oxidative status. We measured rates of energy expenditure of birds after 30-d acclimation to drink salt (SW) or tap (fresh) water (TW) and assessed changes in the activity of mitochondrial enzymes (cytochrome c oxidase and citrate synthase) in skeletal muscle, heart, and kidney. Finally, we evaluated the oxidative status of bird tissues by means of total antioxidant (TAC) and superoxide dismutase activities and lipid oxidative damage (Malondialdehyde, MDA). The results revealed a significant increase in BMR but not M-sum, which resulted in a reduction in factorial aerobic scope in SW- vs TW-acclimated birds. These changes were paralleled with increased kidney and intestine masses and catabolic activities in tissues, especially in pectoralis muscle. We also found that TAC and MDA concentrations were similar to 120% and similar to 400% higher respectively in the liver of animals acclimated to the SW- vs TW-treatment. Our study is the first to document changes in the oxidative status in birds that persistently drink saltwater, and shows that they undergo several physiological adjustments that range that range in scale from biochemical capacities (e.g., TAC and MDA) to whole organism traits (e.g., metabolic rates). We propose that the physiological changes observed in Z. capensis acclimated to saltwater could be common phenomena in birds and likely explain selection of prey containing little salt and habitats associated with low salinity.
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Cita del ítemFront. Physiol. 8: 654
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