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Cellular and humoral immunity in two highly demanding energetic life stages: reproduction and moulting in the Chinstrap Penguin

AuthorsPalacios, María José ; Valera, Francisco ; Colominas-Ciuró, Roger ; Barbosa, Andrés
Chinstrap Penguin
Immune system
Issue Date2018
CitationJournal of Ornithology 159: 283-290 (2018)
AbstractReproduction and moulting are costly events in birds. Some studies have pointed out the possibility that the immune response is optimized and traded off against such costly functions. Moreover, it is also known that stressful conditions may lead to the suppression of immune functions. As reproduction and moulting do not overlap in penguins, they offer a good opportunity to explore the relationships between immunity and both events. Our aim is to compare physiological stress and immunity between breeding and moulting in the Chinstrap Penguin. Considering the large amount of energy expended during breeding and the almost total inactivity during moulting and the immunosuppression caused by stress, it is expected that the Chinstrap Penguin shows a higher degree of stress during breeding and that immunological capacity was lower in this life stage. As a measure of stress, we examined the heterophil/lymphocyte ratio. To account for an overall measure of the immunological status, we measured cellular immunity (total leukocyte count and the response to phytohaemagglutinin) and humoral immunity (immunoglobulin levels). All measures were taken in both breeding and moulting penguins. Our results showed that breeding was more stressful than moulting in the Chinstrap Penguin. Immunological differences between the two physiological activities showed a complex picture as cellular immunity values were higher during moulting and humoral immunity values were higher during breeding. Differences were also found between sexes with males showing higher levels of stress than females and lower values of total leukocyte count.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-017-1499-7
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(MNCN) Artículos
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