High anoxia tolerance in the subterranean salamander Proteus anguinus without oxidative stress nor activation of antioxidant defenses during reoxygenation


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Publication Date

January 2009


The present study describes a high anoxia tolerance in an amphibian at high temperature. Indeed, the subterranean salamander Proteus anguinus survived 12 h under anoxia at 12°C. Surprisingly, such experimental conditions did not affect P. anguinus oxidative status while muscles and liver antioxidant enzymes activities decreased under 8 h anoxia and only return to basal level during reoxygenation. To test if such adaptation is common in Urodels, equivalent experimentations have been conducted on another newt: the stream-dwelling Calotriton asper. This latter species exhibited only 1.5 h survival under anoxia in spite of higher antioxidant enzymes activities than P. anguinus. Furthermore, aerobic recovery after 1 h anoxia induced a 30% increase of oxidative damage partly explained by SOD and CAT activities that did not return to control values during reoxygenation, demonstrating a lower capacity to counteract ROS overproduction than P. anguinus. In addition, uncoupling protein (UCP) transcript was for the first time detected, partly sequenced and quantified in amphibian muscles and liver. UCP may be considered as a ROS production attenuator by mediating a discharge of the proton gradient generated by the respiratory chain. The putative role of UCP in post-anoxic oxidative status of both species is discussed.


Amphibian, Reactive Oxygen Species, Anoxia/Reoxygenation, Antioxidant Enzymes, Uncoupling Protein

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Journal of Comparative Physiology B, Vol. 179 (2009-01-16).