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Effects of Mitochondria-Targeted Plastoquinone Derivative Antioxidant (SkQ1) on Demography of Free-Breeding Campbell Dwarf Hamsters (Phodopus campbelli) Kept in Outdoor Conditions. Reproduction and Lifespan: Explanation in the Framework of Ultimate Loads

K. A. Rogovin1,2*, A. M. Khrushcheva1, O. N. Shekarova1, M. V. Ushakova1, V. N. Manskikh3, O. V. Sokolova4, and N. Yu. Vasilieva1

1Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky pr. 33, 119071 Moscow, Russia

2Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia; E-mail: krogovin@yandex.ru

3Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia

4National Hematology Research Centre (NHRC), Novozykovsky Proezd 4, 125167 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received April 9, 2014
We studied demographic effects of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 on free-breeding Campbell dwarf hamsters (Phodopus campbelli, Thomas, 1905, Rodentia, Cricetidae) in an outdoor vivarium with seasonally varying day length and temperatures. The animals were kept in pairs from their young age. We removed litters from parental cages at their age of 25 days. Experimental hamsters received daily 50 nmol/kg SkQ1 with water by oral dosing, whereas control animals received water. SkQ1 had no effect on the lifespan of either males or females in reproductive pairs. Mortality among females was higher than among males irrespective of SkQ1 treatment, this being related to higher costs of reproduction in females. However, SkQ1 accelerated breeding in pairs in the first half of the reproductive period of a year. Although there were no statistical differences in body mass of males and females between experimental and control animals during most of their life, SkQ1-receiving males had higher body mass at the end of their life. The opposite tendency was characteristic for old females. One-year-old males and females of the experimental and control groups showed no difference in intensity of immune response to sheep red blood cells. The dermal hypersensitivity response to phytohemagglutinin (test for T-cell immunity) was significantly higher in SkQ1-treated 1- and 1.5-year-old males. This was not true for females. There was a tendency toward increased density of the neutrophil population in blood in 1-year-old SkQ1-treated males. However, experimental males showed no difference from control males in the activity of the “peroxidase–endogenous hydrogen peroxide system” of neutrophils. The background level of stress estimated by the concentration of cortisol in blood serum was significantly lower in the SkQ1-treated males during autumn adaptive adjustment of the organism. A similar trend was also observed during the January frosts, when the background level of stress was rather high. We observed no differences between cortisol concentration in experimental and control animals during the reproductive period in early spring and mid-summer. We tend to interpret the absence of geroprotective effect of SkQ1 on free-breeding dwarf hamsters by its ability to intensify breeding. We previously demonstrated the ability of SkQ1 to increase the lifespan of non-breeding females.
KEY WORDS: SkQ1, antioxidants, mitochondria, aging, lifespan, fecundity, Campbell dwarf hamster

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297914100137