Is there an oxidative cost of acute stress? Characterization, implication of glucocorticoids and modulation by prior stress experience

Ariana D. Majer, Vince J. Fasanello, Kailey Tindle, Brian J. Frenz, Alexis D. Ziur, Chelsea P. Fischer, Kelsey L. Fletcher, Olivia M. Seecof, Sarah Gronsky, Brian G. Vassallo, Wendy L. Reed, Ryan T. Paitz, Antoine Stier, Mark F. Haussmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Acute rises in glucocorticoid hormones allow individuals to adaptively respond to environmental challenges but may also have negative consequences, including oxidative stress. While the effects of chronic glucocorticoid exposure on oxidative stress have been well characterized, those of acute stress or glucocorticoid exposure have mostly been overlooked. We examined the relationship between acute stress exposure, glucocorticoids and oxidative stress in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). We (i) characterized the pattern of oxidative stress during an acute stressor in two phenotypically distinct breeds; (ii) determined whether corticosterone ingestion, in the absence of acute stress, increased oxidative stress, which we call glucocorticoid-induced oxidative stress (GiOS); and (iii) explored how prior experience to stressful events affected GiOS. Both breeds exhibited an increase in oxidative stress in response to an acute stressor. Importantly, in the absence of acute stress, ingesting corticosterone caused an acute rise in plasma corticosterone and oxidative stress. Lastly, birds exposed to no previous acute stress or numerous stressful events had high levels of GiOS in response to acute stress, while birds with moderate prior exposure did not. Together, these findings suggest that an acute stress response results in GiOS, but prior experience to stressors may modulate that oxidative cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20191698
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1915
StatePublished - Nov 20 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant no. 1R15-HD083870-01A1) to M.F.H. and R.T.P., and the Bucknell Biology Department.*%blankline%*

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors.


  • Bird
  • Corticosterone
  • Glucocorticoidinduced oxidative stress
  • Hormesis
  • Oxidative stress


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