News News

Unprecedented high catecholamine production causing hair pigmentation after urinary excretion in red deer

Hormones have not been found in concentrations of orders of magnitude higher than nanograms per milliliter. This study reports urine concentrations of a catecholamine (norepinephrine) ranging from 0.05 to 0.5 g/l, and concentrations of its metabolite dl-3,4-dihydroxyphenyl glycol (DOPEG) ranging from 1.0 to 44.5 g/l, in wild male red deer Cervus elaphus hispanicus after LC–MS analyses. The dark ventral patch of male red deer, a recently described sexually selected signal, contains high amounts of DOPEG (0.9–266.9 mg/l) stuck in the hairs, while DOPEG is not present in non-darkened hair. The formation of this dark patch is explained by the chemical structure of DOPEG, which is a catecholamine-derived o-diphenol susceptible to be oxidized by air and form allomelanins, nitrogen-free pigments similar to cutaneous melanins; by its high concentration in urine; and by the urine spraying behavior of red deer by which urine is spread through the ventral body area. Accordingly, the size of the dark ventral patch was positively correlated with the concentration of DOPEG in urine, which was in turn correlated with DOPEG absorbed in ventral hair. These findings represent catecholamine concentrations about one million higher than those previously reported for any hormone in an organism. This may have favored the evolution of the dark ventral patch of red deer by transferring information on the fighting capacity to rivals and mates. Physiological limits for hormone production in animals are thus considerably higher than previously thought. These results also unveil a novel mechanism of pigmentation based on the self-application of urine over the fur. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Galván et al (2018) Unprecedented high catecholamine production causing hair pigmentation after urinary excretion in red deer. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-018-2962-1


https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00018-018-2962-1
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Models for human porphyrias: Have animals in the wild been overlooked?

Humans accumulate porphyrins in the body mostly during the course of porphyrias, diseases caused by defects in the enzymes of the heme biosynthesis pathway and that produce acute attacks, skin...

Combined effects of global change on bumblebees

The decline in bee populations has recently attracted much attention from researchers, conservationists and the general public, with insect-mediated pollination being a key process for terrestrial...

Artificial light at night as a driver of urban colonization

Urbanization and artificial light at night (ALAN) are major drivers of local biodiversity losses causing community alterations, disruption of predator-prey interactions, and ultimately, promotion...

A new subspecies of Manx shearwater to the Canary Islands

The taxonomy of Procellariiformes, particularly petrels and shearwaters, is still unresolved. The Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus is one of the best studied seabirds worldwide. Most of the...

For a better production, agriculture areas need to recover at least 20% of natural habitat

International agreements aim to conserve 17% of Earth’s land area by 2020 but include no area-based conservation targets within the working landscapes that support human needs through farming,...