Reactive oxygen species production and discontinuous gas exchange in insects

Leigh Boardman, John S Terblanche, Stefan K Hetz, Elrike Marais, Steven Loudon Chown

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23 Citations (Scopus)


While biochemical mechanisms are typically used by animals to reduce oxidative damage, insects are suspected to employ a higher organizational level, discontinuous gas exchange mechanism to do so. Using a combination of real-time, flow-through respirometry and live-cell fluorescence microscopy, we show that spiracular control associated with the discontinuous gas exchange cycle (DGC) in Samia cynthia pupae is related to reactive oxygen species (ROS). Hyperoxia fails to increase mean ROS production, although minima are elevated above normoxic levels. Furthermore, a negative relationship between mean (V) over dot(CO2) and mean ROS production indicates that higher ROS production is generally associated with lower (V) over dot(CO2) .Our results, therefore, suggest a possible signalling role for ROS in DGC, rather than supporting the idea that DGC acts to reduce oxidative damage by regulating ROS production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893 - 901
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1730
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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