Metabolic responses to different immune challenges and varying resource availability in the side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)

Geoffrey D. Smith, Lorin A. Neuman-Lee, Alison C. Webb, Michael Angilletta, Dale Denardo, Susannah S. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


The energetic cost of immunity depends on many factors, including the type of challenge, the timing of the response, and the state of the animal. We measured changes in the standard metabolic rates of side-blotched lizards (Uta stansburiana Baird and Girard, 1852) in response to different immune challenges and nutritional states. In the first experiment, lizards were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection (to stimulate the response to a pathogen), cutaneous biopsy (as a proxy to a superficial wound), both injection and biopsy, or neither (control). Four and five days later, we measured the standard metabolic rates of the lizards. In response to healing a cutaneous wound, lizards reduced metabolic rate and lost body mass. Healing rate was also inversely related to weight loss, but LPS had no effect on body mass or metabolic rate. In the second experiment, a new set of lizards were randomly assigned to a high-food or low-food diet and administered a cutaneous biopsy. As in the first experiment, we observed a reduction in metabolic rate after wounding; moreover, this decrease was positively correlated with the rate of healing. We observed higher rates of metabolism in lizards that ate more food, but food consumption was unrelated to the decrease in metabolic rate following the biopsy. These experiments demonstrate the dynamic nature of the immune response in response to immune challenge and the state of the organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1182
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017



  • Cutaneous biopsy
  • Energetics
  • Immune
  • Metabolic rate
  • Reptile
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

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