Ontogeny of constitutive immunity: maternal vs. endogenous influences
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Functional Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 472–478, April 2013
How to Cite
Arriero, E., Majewska, A., Martin, T. E. (2013), Ontogeny of constitutive immunity: maternal vs. endogenous influences. Functional Ecology, 27: 472–478. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12057
- Issue published online: 25 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 1 MAY 2012
- Spanish Ministry of Science and Education
- University of Montana's Animal Care committee. Grant Number: 059-10TMMCWRU
- US Fish and Wildlife Service. Grant Number: MB791101-1
- Venezuelan authorities. Grant Numbers: DM/0000237, INP-005-2004
- Ministerio del Ambiente. Grant Number: 01-03-03-1147
- ecological immunology;
- maternal effects;
- natural antibodies
- Variation in ontogeny and strength of immune defence mechanisms can be integrally related to variation in life-history strategies and determined by trade-offs during development. However, little is known about the ontogeny of immune function in wild birds, especially in altricial birds and in a comparative context across altricial species with diverse life-history strategies.
- In this study, we examined the ontogeny of constitutive immunity in a group of 22 passerine species sampled in tropical Venezuela and north temperate Arizona.
- Our results show activity of constitutive components of the immune defence at 1–3 days posthatching and an increase in immune activity with age. Interspecific variation in immune activity at hatching was mainly explained by extrinsic factors mediated by the mother (egg size and egg temperature), suggesting an important role of maternal effects on offspring immunity at hatching. In contrast, the increase in agglutination activity with age suggests that immune function in older nestlings reflects intrinsic development. The increase in immune activity was greater in species that hatched with lower initial levels, and was somewhat negatively related to growth rate across species.
- Our results suggest slower intrinsic development of immune function may be compensated by larger maternal contributions. Slower intrinsic development of immune function, in turn, may reflect a trade-off with faster somatic growth. Our study highlights the importance of both maternal (extrinsic) and endogenous (intrinsic) contributions to variation in immune function across altricial species that may reflect an important axis of developmental strategies.