Sex differences in longevity may reflect sex-specific costs of intra-sexual competition and reproductive effort. As male rhesus macaques experience greater intrasexual competition and die younger, we predicted males would experience greater oxidative stress than females, and that oxidative stress would reflect sex-specific measures of reproductive effort. Males, relative to females, had higher 8-OHdG and malondialdehyde concentrations, markers of DNA oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation, respectively. Older macaques had lower 8-OHdG levels than younger ones, suggesting oxidative stress decreases in parallel with known age-related declines in reproductive investment. Among males, a recent period of social instability affected oxidative status: males who attacked others at higher rates had higher 8-OHdG levels. Multiparous lactating females with daughters had higher 8-OHdG levels than those with sons. No differences in antioxidant capacity were found. These results lend initial support for using oxidative stress markers to assess trade-offs between reproductive effort and somatic maintenance in primates.
- © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd