Indirect Costs of Parasitism are Shaped by Variation in the Type of Immune Challenge and Food Availability

Pierre Bize*, Romain Piault, Julien Gasparini, Alexandre Roulin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Parasites can inflict indirect fitness costs to their hosts by eliciting costly immune responses. These costs depend on the type and amount of immunostimulants presented to the host immune system but also on the amount of resources available to fuel host immune responses. Here, we investigated how the relative costs of two different types of immune challenge are modulated by variation in food availability. We injected nestling tawny owls (Strix aluco) with either 10 mu g of phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) or 20 mu g of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and subsequently raised them under two different food regimes (food-restricted vs. ad libitum). After controlling for food consumption, we found that LPS-injected nestlings lost more body mass than PHA-injected ones only when food-restricted. We also found that body mass gain of owlets fed ad libitum decreased with the intensity of the skin swelling response against LPS, but not PHA. These experimental and correlative results suggest that nestling tawny owls suffered greater immune costs when treated with LPS than PHA, and that variation in the costs of two different types of immune challenge can be exacerbated under conditions of low food availability. Our study highlights the importance of taking into consideration the interplay between host immunity and nutrition in the study of indirect costs of parasitism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalEvolutionary Biology
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • Condition-dependent
  • Food availability
  • Immunocompetence
  • Immunopathology
  • Tawny owl
  • EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY
  • TAWNY OWLS
  • RESPONSES
  • SURVIVAL
  • BEHAVIOR
  • GROWTH
  • IMMUNOPATHOLOGY
  • ACTIVATION
  • INFECTION
  • VIRULENCE

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