Variations in native protein glycation and plasma antioxidants in several birds of prey

Tana Ingram, Jessica Zuck, Chad R. Borges, Patrick Redig, Karen L. Sweazea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Birds are an anomaly among vertebrates as they are remarkably long-lived despite having naturally high blood glucose and metabolic rates. For mammals, hyperglycemia leads to oxidative stress and protein glycation. In contrast, many studies have shown that domestic and wild birds are relatively resistant to these glucose-mediated pathologies. Surprisingly very little research has examined protein glycation in birds of prey, which by nature consume a diet high in protein and fat that promotes gluconeogenesis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate protein glycation and antioxidant concentrations in serum samples from several birds of prey (bald eagle (BAEA), red-tailed hawk (RTHA), barred owl (BAOW), great horned owl (GHOW)) as protein glycation can accelerate oxidative stress and vice versa. Serum glucose was measured using a commercially available assay, native albumin glycation was measured by mass spectrometry and various antioxidants (uric acid, vitamin E, retinol and several carotenoids) were measured by high performance liquid chromatography. Although glucose concentrations were not significantly different between species (p = 0.340), albumin glycation was significantly higher (p = 0.004) in BAEA (23.67 ± 1.90%) and BAOW (24.28 ± 1.43%) compared to RTHA (14.31 ± 0.63%). Of the antioxidants examined, lutein was significantly higher in BAOW (p = 0.008). BAEA had the highest beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene concentrations (p < 0.005). The high concentrations of antioxidants in these birds of prey relative to other birds likely helps protect from complications that may otherwise arise from having high glucose and protein glycation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Albumin
  • Antioxidant
  • Bird of prey
  • Glycation
  • Raptor


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