Differential effects of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and estradiol on carotenoid deposition in an avian sexually selected signal

Stefania Casagrande*, Cor Dijkstra, James Tagliavini, Vivian C. Goerlich, Ton G. G. Groothuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Recent studies have demonstrated that carotenoid-based traits are under the control of testosterone (T) by up-regulation of carotenoid carriers (lipoproteins) and/or tissue-specific uptake of carotenoids. T can be converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol (E2), and variation in conversion rate may partly explain some contradictory findings in the literature. Moreover, most studies on the effect of T on sexual signals have focused on the male sex only, while in many species females show the same signal, albeit to a lesser extent. We studied the effects of T, DHT, and E2 treatment in male and female diamond doves Geopelia cuneata in which both sexes have an enlarged red eye ring, which is more pronounced in males. We first showed that this periorbital ring contains very high concentration of carotenoids, of which most are lutein esters. Both T and DHT were effective in enhancing hue, UV-chroma and size in both sexes, while E2 was ineffective. However, E2 dramatically increased the concentration of circulating lipoproteins. We conclude that in both sexes both color and size of the secondary sexual trait are androgen dependent. The action of androgens is independent of lipoproteins regulation. Potential mechanisms and their consequences for trade-off are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of comparative physiology a-Neuroethology sensory neural and behavioral physiology
Volume197
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2011

Keywords

  • Lutein
  • Lipoprotein
  • Skin
  • Bird
  • Diamond dove
  • EXPERIMENTALLY ELEVATED TESTOSTERONE
  • OXIDATION HANDICAP HYPOTHESIS
  • LAGOPUS-LAGOPUS-SCOTICUS
  • PARTRIDGE ALECTORIS-RUFA
  • NESTLING BLUE TITS
  • DARK-EYED JUNCOS
  • MALE RED GROUSE
  • IMMUNOCOMPETENCE HANDICAP
  • COLORFUL SONGBIRD
  • FALCO-TINNUNCULUS

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