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Long-term maternal effect on offspring immune response in song sparrows Melospiza melodia


Reid, J M; Arcese, P; Keller, L F; Hasselquist, D (2006). Long-term maternal effect on offspring immune response in song sparrows Melospiza melodia. Biology Letters, 2(4):573-576.

Abstract

Knowledge of the causes of variation in host immunity to parasitic infection and the time-scales over which variation persists, is integral to predicting the evolutionary and epidemiological consequences of host–parasite interactions. It is clear that offspring immunity can be influenced by parental immune experience, for example, reflecting transfer of antibodies from mothers to young offspring. However, it is less clear whether such parental effects persist or have functional consequences over longer time-scales, linking a parent's previous immune experience to future immune responsiveness in fully grown offspring. We used free-living song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) to quantify long-term effects of parental immune experience on offspring immune response. We experimentally vaccinated parents with a novel antigen and tested whether parental vaccination influenced the humoral antibody response mounted by fully grown offspring hatched the following year. Parental vaccination did not influence offspring baseline antibody titres. However, offspring of vaccinated mothers mounted substantially stronger antibody responses than offspring of unvaccinated mothers. Antibody responses did not differ between offspring of vaccinated and unvaccinated fathers. These data demonstrate substantial long-term effects of maternal immune experience on the humoral immune response of fully grown offspring in free-living birds.

Knowledge of the causes of variation in host immunity to parasitic infection and the time-scales over which variation persists, is integral to predicting the evolutionary and epidemiological consequences of host–parasite interactions. It is clear that offspring immunity can be influenced by parental immune experience, for example, reflecting transfer of antibodies from mothers to young offspring. However, it is less clear whether such parental effects persist or have functional consequences over longer time-scales, linking a parent's previous immune experience to future immune responsiveness in fully grown offspring. We used free-living song sparrows (Melospiza melodia) to quantify long-term effects of parental immune experience on offspring immune response. We experimentally vaccinated parents with a novel antigen and tested whether parental vaccination influenced the humoral antibody response mounted by fully grown offspring hatched the following year. Parental vaccination did not influence offspring baseline antibody titres. However, offspring of vaccinated mothers mounted substantially stronger antibody responses than offspring of unvaccinated mothers. Antibody responses did not differ between offspring of vaccinated and unvaccinated fathers. These data demonstrate substantial long-term effects of maternal immune experience on the humoral immune response of fully grown offspring in free-living birds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2006
Deposited On:27 Mar 2009 13:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:25
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:1744-9561
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0544
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3100

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