Doping for sex: bad for mitochondrial performances? Case of testosterone supplemented Hyla arborea during the courtship period
Desprat, Julia L
Tattersall, Glenn J
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Sexual selection has been widely explored from numerous perspectives, including behavior, ecology, and to a lesser extent, energetics. Hormones, and specifically androgens such as testosterone, are known to trigger sexual behaviors. Their effects are therefore of interest during the breeding period. Our work investigates the effect of testosterone on the relationship between cellular bioenergetics and contractile properties of two skeletal muscles involved in sexual selection in tree frogs. Calling and locomotor abilities are considered evidence of good condition in Hyla males, and thus server as proxies for male quality and attractiveness. Therefore, how these behaviors are powered efficiently remains of both physiological and behavioral interest. Most previous research, however, has focused primarily on biomechanics, contractile properties or mitochondrial enzyme activities. Some have tried to establish a relationship between those parameters but to our knowledge, there is no study examining muscle fiber bioenergetics in Hyla arborea. Using chronic testosterone supplementation and through an integrative study combining fiber bioenergetics and contractile properties, we compared sexually dimorphic trunk muscles directly linked to chronic sound production to a hindlimb muscle (i.e. gastrocnemius) that is particularly adapted for explosive movement. As expected, trunk muscle bioenergetics were more affected by testosterone than gastrocnemius muscle. Our study also underlines contrasted energetic capacities between muscles, in line with contractile properties of these two different muscle phenotypes. The discrepancy of both substrate utilization and contractile properties is consistent with the specific role of each muscle and our results are elucidating another integrative example of a muscle force-endurance trade-off.