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Effects of antihelminthic treatment on cell-mediated immunity in Gentoo penguin chicks

AuthorsBertellotti, Marcelo; D'Amico, Verónica L.; Palacios, María Gabriela; Barbosa, Andrés ; Coria, Néstor
Gentoo penguins
Leukocyte counts
Issue DateJul-2016
CitationPolar Biology 39(7): 1207-1212 (2016)
AbstractIntestinal parasites suppose a cost to hosts as they compete directly for nutritional resources. Therefore, hosts must defend themselves against intestinal parasites by mounting an immune response. Many penguin species acquire parasites through their diet and transfer these parasites to their chicks when feeding them. High parasite loads in penguin chicks could have effects on their growth and body condition, and ultimately on their survival. Here, we evaluated the effect of parasites on the cell-mediated immune system in Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) chicks at Stranger Point (25 de Mayo/King George Island, South Shetland Islands). To this end, 12 chicks were experimentally deparasitized with a mixture of anthelminthic drugs (albendazole and praziquantel), whereas 10 others were kept as control. We measured cutaneous cell-mediated immunity in response to immunization with phytohemagglutinin (PHA). We also analyzed the leukocyte profile in both treated and control groups before and after the treatment. After the treatment, deparasitized birds showed larger foot-web swelling in response to PHA injection than control birds. Deparasitized penguins also showed lower eosinophil and monocyte counts than controls, whereas heterophils, lymphocytes, and total white blood cell counts did not differ between groups. Our results suggest that Gentoo penguin chicks parasitized with intestinal parasites suffer a cost in terms of reduced cell-mediated immune responses that could ultimately affect their survival.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00300-015-1839-0
issn: 0722-4060
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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