Publication

Constitutive innate immunity of tropical House Wrens varies with season and reproductive activity

Tieleman, B. I., Versteegh, M. A., Klasing, K. C. & Williams, J. B., 1-Jul-2019, In : The Auk. 136, 3, 10 p., 029.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

In lowland Neotropical regions, where air temperature and day length remain relatively constant year round, seasonality is determined primarily by changes in rainfall. The wet season triggers the start of breeding for many Neotropical birds but also alters the antigenic environment, likely increasing the risk of disease transmission. We explored 2 hypotheses about temporal variation in constitutive innate immunity of a Neotropical bird, the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). The antigen response hypothesis proposes that Neotropical wrens upregulate their immune function in the wet season either in anticipation of or in response to vectors that become more prevalent. The resource constraint hypothesis proposes that during periods of putative high resource demand, such as when parents are feeding young, immune function should be compromised and downregulated. Controlling for reproductive stage, we found that microbicidal capacity of blood against Escherichia coli was higher in the wet than the dry season, consistent with the antigen response hypothesis. Phagocytosis of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus did not differ between wet and dry seasons. Microbicidal capacity and H/L ratio of tropical House Wrens did not vary among reproductive stages, and our data offered no support for the idea that immune function is compromised during the period when parents are feeding young.

Original languageEnglish
Article number029
Number of pages10
JournalThe Auk
Volume136
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2019

    Keywords

  • birds, microbicidal capacity of blood, phagocytosis, seasonality, tropics, BLOOD PARASITES, LIFE-HISTORY, ENERGY-EXPENDITURE, ECOLOGICAL IMMUNOLOGY, FOOD AVAILABILITY, BIRDS, PATTERNS, MAINTENANCE, PREVALENCE, INVESTMENT

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