Reproduction alters hydration state but does not impact the positive effects of dehydration on innate immune function in children’s pythons (Antaresia childreni)

George A. Brusch, Gopal Billy, Joseph Blattman, Dale Denardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Resource availability can impact immune function, with the majority of studies of such influences focusing on the allocation of energy investment into immune versus other physiological functions. When energy is a limited resource, performance trade-offs can result, compromising immunity. Dehydration is also considered a physiological challenge resulting from the limitation of a vital resource, yet previous research has found a positive relationship between dehydration and innate immune performance. However, these studies did not examine the effects of dehydration on immunity when there was another concurrent, substantial physiological challenge. Thus, we examined the impact of reproduction and water deprivation, individually and in combination, on immune performance in Children’s pythons (Antaresia childreni). We collected blood samples fromfree-ranging A. childreni to evaluate osmolality and innate immune function (lysis, agglutination, bacterial growth inhibition) during the austral dry season, when water availability is limited and this species is typically reproducing. To examine how reproduction and water imbalance, both separately and combined, impact immune function, we used a laboratory-based 2 # 2 experiment. Our results demonstrate that A. childreni experience significant dehydration during the dry season and that, overall, osmolality, regardless of the underlying cause (seasonal rainfall, water deprivation, or reproduction), is positively correlated with increased innate immune performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-654
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Volume90
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • Dehydration
  • Immunocompetence
  • Innate immunity
  • Osmotic stress
  • Reproduction
  • Water limitations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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