Molecular and structural antioxidant defenses against oxidative stressin animals
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In this review, it is our aim 1) to describe the high diversity in molecular and structural antioxidant defenses against oxidative stress in animals, 2) to extend the traditional concept of antioxidant to other structural and functional factors affecting the "whole" organism, 3) to incorporate, when supportable by evidence, mechanisms into models of life-history trade-offs and maternal/epigenetic inheritance, 4) to highlight the importance of studying the biochemical integration of redox systems, and 5) to discuss the link between maximum life span and antioxidant defenses. The traditional concept of antioxidant defenses emphasizes the importance of the chemical nature of molecules with antioxidant properties. Research in the past 20 years shows that animals have also evolved a high diversity in structural defenses that should be incorporated in research on antioxidant responses to reactive species. Although there is a high diversity in antioxidant defenses, many of them are evolutionary conserved across animal taxa. In particular, enzymatic defenses and heat shock response mediated by proteins show a low degree of variation. Importantly, activation of an antioxidant response may be also energetically and nutrient demanding. So knowledge of antioxidant mechanisms could allow us to identify and to quantify any underlying costs, which can help explain life-history trade-offs. Moreover, the study of inheritance mechanisms of antioxidant mechanisms has clear potential to evaluate the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to stress response phenotype variation.