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Variation in innate immunity in relation to ectoparasite load, age and season : a field experiment in great tits (Parus major)

(2010) JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. 213(17). p.3012-3018
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Abstract
It remains largely unknown which factors affect the innate immune responses of free-living birds. Nevertheless, the degree of innate immunity may play a crucial role in an individual's survival as it procures the first defence against pathogens. We manipulated the ectoparasite load of great tit (Parus major) nests by infesting them with hen fleas (Ceratophyllus gallinae) before egg laying. We subsequently quantified natural antibody (NAb) concentration and complement activation in nestlings and adult females during breeding and post-breeding periods. NAb concentrations increased in nestlings and adult females breeding in flea-infested nest boxes during the nestling provisioning period, but not in breeding females during incubation. In contrast, parasite abundance did not affect levels of complement activity in females. NAb levels of nestlings were already fully developed at the end of the nestling stage, but complement activation was only observed post-fledging. Concentrations of NAbs and complement activation of adult females were significantly lower during the breeding season compared with post-breeding levels, but did not differ between incubation and chick rearing. Further experimental studies in species that vary in life-history strategies will allow us to unravel the mechanisms underlying the observed variation in innate immune defences.
Keywords
immune function, natural antibodies, parasites, birds, hole-nesting

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
De Coster, Greet, Liesbeth De Neve, David Martín-Gálvez, Lieven Therry, and Luc Lens. 2010. “Variation in Innate Immunity in Relation to Ectoparasite Load, Age and Season : a Field Experiment in Great Tits (Parus Major).” Journal of Experimental Biology 213 (17): 3012–3018.
APA
De Coster, Greet, De Neve, L., Martín-Gálvez, D., Therry, L., & Lens, L. (2010). Variation in innate immunity in relation to ectoparasite load, age and season : a field experiment in great tits (Parus major). JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 213(17), 3012–3018.
Vancouver
1.
De Coster G, De Neve L, Martín-Gálvez D, Therry L, Lens L. Variation in innate immunity in relation to ectoparasite load, age and season : a field experiment in great tits (Parus major). JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. 2010;213(17):3012–8.
MLA
De Coster, Greet, Liesbeth De Neve, David Martín-Gálvez, et al. “Variation in Innate Immunity in Relation to Ectoparasite Load, Age and Season : a Field Experiment in Great Tits (Parus Major).” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 213.17 (2010): 3012–3018. Print.
@article{1026158,
  abstract     = {It remains largely unknown which factors affect the innate immune responses of free-living birds. Nevertheless, the degree of innate immunity may play a crucial role in an individual's survival as it procures the first defence against pathogens. We manipulated the ectoparasite load of great tit (Parus major) nests by infesting them with hen fleas (Ceratophyllus gallinae) before egg laying. We subsequently quantified natural antibody (NAb) concentration and complement activation in nestlings and adult females during breeding and post-breeding periods. NAb concentrations increased in nestlings and adult females breeding in flea-infested nest boxes during the nestling provisioning period, but not in breeding females during incubation. In contrast, parasite abundance did not affect levels of complement activity in females. NAb levels of nestlings were already fully developed at the end of the nestling stage, but complement activation was only observed post-fledging. Concentrations of NAbs and complement activation of adult females were significantly lower during the breeding season compared with post-breeding levels, but did not differ between incubation and chick rearing. Further experimental studies in species that vary in life-history strategies will allow us to unravel the mechanisms underlying the observed variation in innate immune defences.},
  author       = {De Coster, Greet and De Neve, Liesbeth and Martín-Gálvez, David and Therry, Lieven and Lens, Luc},
  issn         = {0022-0949},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY},
  keywords     = {immune function,natural antibodies,parasites,birds,hole-nesting},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {17},
  pages        = {3012--3018},
  title        = {Variation in innate immunity in relation to ectoparasite load, age and season : a field experiment in great tits (Parus major)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.042721},
  volume       = {213},
  year         = {2010},
}

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