Mar 20, 2014

Infection with Mycoplasma gallisepticum buffers the effects of acute stress on innate immunity in house finches

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology : PBZ
Melanie FrattoAndrew K Davis


When wild animals become infected, they still must cope with the rigors of daily life, and, thus, they still can be exposed to acute stressors. The suite of physiological responses to acute stress includes modifying the innate immune system, but infections can also cause similar changes. We examined the effects of an acute stressor (capture stress) on leukocyte abundance and bacteria-killing ability (BKA) in wild birds (house finches Haemorhous mexicanus) with and without a naturally occurring infection (Mycoplasma gallisepticum) to determine whether infection alters the typical immune response to stress. Birds were captured and bled within 3 min (baseline sample) and then held in paper bags for 2 h and bled again (stress sample). From blood smears made at both time points, we obtained estimates of total white blood cell (WBC) counts and relative numbers of each cell. We also measured BKA of plasma at both time points. In uninfected birds (n = 26), total WBC count decreased by 30% over time, while in infected birds (n = 9), it decreased by 6%. Relative numbers of heterophils did not change over time in uninfected birds but increased in infected birds. Combined with a reduction in lymphocyte numbers, this led to a threefold incr...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Bacterial Conjunctivitis
Immune System
White Blood Cell Count Procedure
Carpodacus mexicanus
Seasonal Variation
Differential White Blood Cell Count Procedure
Mycoplasma Infections

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