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Immune Indexes of Larks from Desert and Temperate Regions Show Weak Associations with Life History but Stronger Links to Environmental Variation in Microbial Abundance

Horrocks, Nicholas P. C.; Hegemann, Arne LU ; Matson, Kevin D.; Hine, Kathryn; Jaquier, Sophie; Shobrak, Mohammed; Williams, Joseph B.; Tinbergen, Joost M. and Tieleman, B. Irene (2012) In Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85(5). p.504-515
Abstract
Immune defense may vary as a result of trade-offs with other life-history traits or in parallel with variation in antigen levels in the environment. We studied lark species (Alaudidae) in the Arabian Desert and temperate Netherlands to test opposing predictions from these two hypotheses. Based on their slower pace of life, the trade-off hypothesis predicts relatively stronger immune defenses in desert larks compared with temperate larks. However, as predicted by the antigen exposure hypothesis, reduced microbial abundances in deserts should result in desert-living larks having relatively weaker immune defenses. We quantified host-independent and host-dependent microbial abundances of culturable microbes in ambient air and from the surfaces... (More)
Immune defense may vary as a result of trade-offs with other life-history traits or in parallel with variation in antigen levels in the environment. We studied lark species (Alaudidae) in the Arabian Desert and temperate Netherlands to test opposing predictions from these two hypotheses. Based on their slower pace of life, the trade-off hypothesis predicts relatively stronger immune defenses in desert larks compared with temperate larks. However, as predicted by the antigen exposure hypothesis, reduced microbial abundances in deserts should result in desert-living larks having relatively weaker immune defenses. We quantified host-independent and host-dependent microbial abundances of culturable microbes in ambient air and from the surfaces of birds. We measured components of immunity by quantifying concentrations of the acute-phase protein haptoglobin, natural antibody-mediated agglutination titers, complement-mediated lysis titers, and the microbicidal ability of whole blood. Desert-living larks were exposed to significantly lower concentrations of airborne microbes than temperate larks, and densities of some bird-associated microbes were also lower in desert species. Haptoglobin concentrations and lysis titers were also significantly lower in desert-living larks, but other immune indexes did not differ. Thus, contrary to the trade-off hypothesis, we found little evidence that a slow pace of life predicted increased immunological investment. In contrast, and in support of the antigen exposure hypothesis, associations between microbial exposure and some immune indexes were apparent. Measures of antigen exposure, including assessment of host-independent and host-dependent microbial assemblages, can provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying immunological variation. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
volume
85
issue
5
pages
504 - 515
publisher
University of Chicago Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000308067900010
  • scopus:84865494336
ISSN
1522-2152
DOI
10.1086/666988
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
061282eb-c7d0-4544-bc65-9c777739a3aa (old id 4732075)
date added to LUP
2014-10-30 09:22:34
date last changed
2017-07-02 03:08:33
@article{061282eb-c7d0-4544-bc65-9c777739a3aa,
  abstract     = {Immune defense may vary as a result of trade-offs with other life-history traits or in parallel with variation in antigen levels in the environment. We studied lark species (Alaudidae) in the Arabian Desert and temperate Netherlands to test opposing predictions from these two hypotheses. Based on their slower pace of life, the trade-off hypothesis predicts relatively stronger immune defenses in desert larks compared with temperate larks. However, as predicted by the antigen exposure hypothesis, reduced microbial abundances in deserts should result in desert-living larks having relatively weaker immune defenses. We quantified host-independent and host-dependent microbial abundances of culturable microbes in ambient air and from the surfaces of birds. We measured components of immunity by quantifying concentrations of the acute-phase protein haptoglobin, natural antibody-mediated agglutination titers, complement-mediated lysis titers, and the microbicidal ability of whole blood. Desert-living larks were exposed to significantly lower concentrations of airborne microbes than temperate larks, and densities of some bird-associated microbes were also lower in desert species. Haptoglobin concentrations and lysis titers were also significantly lower in desert-living larks, but other immune indexes did not differ. Thus, contrary to the trade-off hypothesis, we found little evidence that a slow pace of life predicted increased immunological investment. In contrast, and in support of the antigen exposure hypothesis, associations between microbial exposure and some immune indexes were apparent. Measures of antigen exposure, including assessment of host-independent and host-dependent microbial assemblages, can provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying immunological variation.},
  author       = {Horrocks, Nicholas P. C. and Hegemann, Arne and Matson, Kevin D. and Hine, Kathryn and Jaquier, Sophie and Shobrak, Mohammed and Williams, Joseph B. and Tinbergen, Joost M. and Tieleman, B. Irene},
  issn         = {1522-2152},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {504--515},
  publisher    = {University of Chicago Press},
  series       = {Physiological and Biochemical Zoology},
  title        = {Immune Indexes of Larks from Desert and Temperate Regions Show Weak Associations with Life History but Stronger Links to Environmental Variation in Microbial Abundance},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/666988},
  volume       = {85},
  year         = {2012},
}