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Tail loss and telomeres: consequences of large-scale tissue regeneration in a terrestrial ectotherm

Journal article
Authors L. J. Fitzpatrick
Mats Olsson
L. M. Parsley
Angela Pauliny
G. M. While
E. Wapstra
Published in Biology Letters
Volume 15
Issue 7
ISSN 1744-9561
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0151
Keywords oxidative stress, telomere dynamics, tissue regeneration, autotomy, reptile, ectotherm, oxidative stress, caudal autotomy, lizard tail, growth, costs, length, cells, immunolocalization, dynamics, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics, Environmental Sciences &, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology
Subject categories Biological Sciences

Abstract

Large-scale tissue regeneration has potential consequences for telomere length through increases in cell division and changes in metabolism which increase the potential for oxidative stress damage to telomeres. The effects of regeneration on telomere dynamics have been studied in fish and marine invertebrates, but the literature is scarce for terrestrial species. We experimentally induced tail autotomy in a lizard (Niveoscincus ocellatus) and assessed relative telomere length (RTL) in blood samples before and after partial tail regeneration while concurrently measuring reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. The change in ROS levels was a significant explanatory variable for the change in RTL over the 60-day experiment. At the average value of ROS change, the mean RTL increased significantly in the control group (intact tails), but there was no such evidence in the regenerating group. By contrast, ROS levels decreased significantly in the regenerating group, but there was no such evidence in the control group. Combined, these results suggest that tail regeneration following autotomy involves a response to oxidative stress and this potentially comes at a cost to telomere repair. This change in telomere maintenance demonstrates a potential long-term cost of tail regeneration beyond the regrowth of tissue itself.

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