Immune response to an endotoxin challenge involves multiple immune parameters and is consistent among the annual-cycle stages of a free-living temperate zone bird
Hegemann, A. ; Matson, K.D. ; Versteegh, M.A. ; Villegas, A. ; Tieleman, B.I. - \ 2013
Journal of Experimental Biology 216 (2013)14. - ISSN 0022-0949 - p. 2573 - 2580.
sparrows passer-domesticus - physiological trade-offs - acute-phase response - heat-shock proteins - in-house sparrows - ecological immunology - humoral immunity - binding globulin - broiler-chickens - seasonal-changes
Trade-offs between immune function and other physiological and behavioural processes are central in ecoimmunology, but one important problem is how to distinguish a reallocation of resources away from the immune system from a reallocation or redistribution within the immune system. While variation in baseline values of individual immune parameters is well established, studies in wild animals on multiple parameters during an immune response are lacking. It also remains to be tested whether and how immune responses correlate with baseline values that vary, for example, over the course of an annual cycle. We studied immunological responses to an endotoxin challenge in skylarks (Alauda arvensis), a partial migrant bird breeding in temperate zones. We compared birds injected with the endotoxin LPS with un-injected controls, characterizing immunological responses with leukocyte profiles, titres of lytic enzymes and natural antibodies, and concentrations of haptoglobin and heat shock proteins. We did this in five annual-cycle stages to test whether the response varied throughout the year. The endotoxin challenge affected six of 10 measured parameters. Lysis titres and proportions of heterophils increased; haptoglobin concentrations and proportions of lymphocytes, basophils and eosinophils decreased. The variable effects on different immune components demonstrate the complexity of an immune response. We found no evidence that the response differed between annual-cycle stages. The response was independent of baseline measures taken directly upon capture in the field, indicating that birds were facing no immunological ceiling when mounting an immune response. Values of five parameters collected under field conditions were significantly related to values taken under standardized laboratory conditions. We conclude that multiple parts of the immune system are modulated during an immunological response and that responses are not re-organized throughout the annual cycle.
Immune function in a free-living bird varies over the annual cycle, but seasonal patterns differ between years
Hegemann, A. ; Matson, K.D. ; Both, C. ; Tieleman, B.I. - \ 2012
Oecologia 170 (2012)3. - ISSN 0029-8549 - p. 605 - 618.
in-house sparrows - trade-offs - ecological immunology - evolutionary ecology - passer-domesticus - alauda-arvensis - life-history - habitat use - blue tits - defense
A central hypothesis of eco-immunology proposes trade-offs between immune defences and competing physiological and behavioural processes, leading to immunological variation within and among annual-cycle stages, as has been revealed for some species. However, few studies have simultaneously investigated patterns of multiple immune indices over the entire annual cycle in free-living birds, and none has investigated the consistency of seasonal patterns across multiple years. We quantified lysis, agglutination, haptoglobin, leukocyte profiles, and body mass in free-living skylarks (Alauda arvensis) through two complete annual cycles and within and between four breeding seasons. The skylarks’ annual cycle is characterised by annually repeated changes in energy and time budgets, social structure and diet. If trade-offs relating to these cyclic changes shape evolution, predictable intra-annual immune patterns may result. Alternatively, intra-annual immune patterns may vary among years if fluctuating environmental changes affect the cost–benefit balances of immune function. We found significant variation in immune indices and body mass across the annual cycle, and these patterns differed between years. Immune parameters differed between four breeding seasons, and in all years, lysis and agglutination increased as the season progressed independent of average levels. Population-level patterns (intra-annual, inter-annual, within breeding season) were consistent with within-individual patterns based on repeated measurements. We found little evidence for sex differences, and only haptoglobin was correlated (negatively) with body mass. We conclude that immune modulation is not simply a pre-programmed phenomenon that reflects predictable ecological changes. Instead, fluctuating environmental conditions that vary among years likely contribute to the immunological variation that we observed.