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Energetic stress, immunosuppression and the costs of an antibody response

Svensson, Erik LU ; Råberg, Lars LU ; Koch, C. and Hasselquist, Dennis LU (1998) In Functional Ecology 12(6). p.912-919
Abstract
1. Recently, there has been much interest in physiological trade-offs between parasite resistance and fitness-related traits such as secondary sexual characters or reproductive effort. More specifically it has been suggested that (i) energetically costly activities may suppress the immune system and (ii) that this immunosuppression is caused by costly immune defences competing with other bodily demands for scarce resources, e.g. energy. 2. The possibility was investigated of an energetically based trade-off between humoral (antibody-based) immunocompetence and other costly activities, by immunizing Blue Tits, Parus caeruleus, with novel antigens (proteins) thereby inducing antibody responses, and performing two experiments. In experiment... (More)
1. Recently, there has been much interest in physiological trade-offs between parasite resistance and fitness-related traits such as secondary sexual characters or reproductive effort. More specifically it has been suggested that (i) energetically costly activities may suppress the immune system and (ii) that this immunosuppression is caused by costly immune defences competing with other bodily demands for scarce resources, e.g. energy. 2. The possibility was investigated of an energetically based trade-off between humoral (antibody-based) immunocompetence and other costly activities, by immunizing Blue Tits, Parus caeruleus, with novel antigens (proteins) thereby inducing antibody responses, and performing two experiments. In experiment i, one group of birds was subjected to cold stress, thereby increasing their daily energy expenditure and the effect on immune responsiveness was investigated. In experiment 2, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of immunized birds was measured to investigate the energetic costs of mounting the antibody responses. 3. In experiment I, birds subject to increased energy turnover had significantly lower antibody responses, consistent with the hypothesis that environmental stress could suppress immunocompetence. However, in experiment 2 the energetic costs of these antibody responses were found to be low and at most 8-13% of BMR, indicating that adaptive resource allocation of energy was an unlikely explanation for the lowered immune responsiveness in the cold stress treatment (experiment 1). 4. It is concluded that our data provide some support to the idea that there may be a trade-off between immunocompetence and energetically costly activities such as thermoregulation, reproduction or mate attraction, although this trade-off may not necessarily be based on energy or nutrient limitation (i.e. resource allocation models). Two non-energetic explanations are briefly discussed, one adaptive and one non-adaptive, that could explain the immunosuppression in our study as well as in other behavioural and ecological contexts. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
immunology, birds, immunocompetence, blue tit, immune-system, reproductive effort, basal metabolic-rate, physiological trade-offs, Parus caeruleus, cold stress, energy turnover, parasites, diseases, kestrel
in
Functional Ecology
volume
12
issue
6
pages
912 - 919
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:0032449516
ISSN
1365-2435
DOI
10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00271.x
project
Costs of the immune system and maternal effects
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
57905491-6583-4c96-b9a7-71f752e157e8 (old id 1747744)
date added to LUP
2011-02-23 12:57:13
date last changed
2017-09-10 03:34:21
@article{57905491-6583-4c96-b9a7-71f752e157e8,
  abstract     = {1. Recently, there has been much interest in physiological trade-offs between parasite resistance and fitness-related traits such as secondary sexual characters or reproductive effort. More specifically it has been suggested that (i) energetically costly activities may suppress the immune system and (ii) that this immunosuppression is caused by costly immune defences competing with other bodily demands for scarce resources, e.g. energy. 2. The possibility was investigated of an energetically based trade-off between humoral (antibody-based) immunocompetence and other costly activities, by immunizing Blue Tits, Parus caeruleus, with novel antigens (proteins) thereby inducing antibody responses, and performing two experiments. In experiment i, one group of birds was subjected to cold stress, thereby increasing their daily energy expenditure and the effect on immune responsiveness was investigated. In experiment 2, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of immunized birds was measured to investigate the energetic costs of mounting the antibody responses. 3. In experiment I, birds subject to increased energy turnover had significantly lower antibody responses, consistent with the hypothesis that environmental stress could suppress immunocompetence. However, in experiment 2 the energetic costs of these antibody responses were found to be low and at most 8-13% of BMR, indicating that adaptive resource allocation of energy was an unlikely explanation for the lowered immune responsiveness in the cold stress treatment (experiment 1). 4. It is concluded that our data provide some support to the idea that there may be a trade-off between immunocompetence and energetically costly activities such as thermoregulation, reproduction or mate attraction, although this trade-off may not necessarily be based on energy or nutrient limitation (i.e. resource allocation models). Two non-energetic explanations are briefly discussed, one adaptive and one non-adaptive, that could explain the immunosuppression in our study as well as in other behavioural and ecological contexts.},
  author       = {Svensson, Erik and Råberg, Lars and Koch, C. and Hasselquist, Dennis},
  issn         = {1365-2435},
  keyword      = {immunology,birds,immunocompetence,blue tit,immune-system,reproductive effort,basal metabolic-rate,physiological trade-offs,Parus caeruleus,cold stress,energy turnover,parasites,diseases,kestrel},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {912--919},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Functional Ecology},
  title        = {Energetic stress, immunosuppression and the costs of an antibody response},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00271.x},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {1998},
}