Is the rate of metabolic ageing and survival determined by basal metabolic rate in the zebra finch?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE 2014, 9(9):1-6 10.1371/journal.pone.0108675
The relationship between energy metabolism and ageing is of great interest because aerobic metabolism is the primary source of reactive oxygen species which is believed to be of major importance in the ageing process. We conducted a longitudinal study on captive zebra finches where we tested the effect of age on basal metabolic rate (BMR), as well as the effect of BMR on the rate of metabolic ageing (decline in BMR with age) and survival. Basal metabolic rate declined with age in both sexes after controlling for the effect of body mass, indicating a loss of functionality with age. This loss of functionality could be due to accumulated oxidative damage, believed to increase with increasing metabolic rate, c.f. the free radical theory of ageing. If so, we would expect the rate of metabolic ageing to increase and survival to decrease with increasing BMR. However, we found no effect of BMR on the rate of metabolic ageing. Furthermore, survival was not affected by BMR in the males. In female zebra finches there was a tendency for survival to decrease with increasing BMR, but the effect did not reach significance (P,0.1). Thus, the effect of BMR on the rate of functional deterioration with age, if any, was not strong enough to influence neither the rate of metabolic ageing nor survival in the zebra finches.