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Dietary vitamin E reaches the mitochondria in the flight muscle of zebra finches but only if they exercise

Citation

Cooper-Mullin, Clara et al. (2021), Dietary vitamin E reaches the mitochondria in the flight muscle of zebra finches but only if they exercise, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7wm37pvsv

Abstract

Whether dietary antioxidants are effective for alleviating oxidative costs associated with energy-demanding life events first requires they are successfully absorbed in the digestive tract and transported to sites associated with reactive species production (e.g. the mitochondria). Flying birds are under high energy and oxidative demands, and although birds commonly ingest dietary antioxidants in the wild, the bioavailability of these consumed antioxidants is poorly understood. We show for the first time that an ingested lipophilic antioxidant, α-tocopherol, reached the mitochondria in the flight muscles of a songbird but only if they regularly exercise (60 min of perch-to-perch flights two times in a day or 8.5 km day-1). Deuterated α-tocopherol was found in the blood of exercise-trained zebra finches within 6.5 hrs and in isolated mitochondria from pectoral muscle within 22.5 hrs, but never reached the mitochondria in caged sedentary control birds. This rapid pace (within a day) and extent of metabolic routing of a dietary antioxidant to muscle mitochondria means that daily consumption of such dietary sources can help to pay the inevitable oxidative costs of flight muscle metabolism, but only when combined with regular exercise.

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-0748349

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Award: RIAES-538748