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Socioecological predictors of immune defences in wild spotted hyenas


Flies, AS and Mansfield, LS and Flies, EJ and Grant, CK and Holekamp, KE, Socioecological predictors of immune defences in wild spotted hyenas, Functional Ecology, 30, (9) pp. 1549-1557. ISSN 0269-8463 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 The Authors. Functional Ecology Copyright 2016 British Ecological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12638


Summary 1. Social rank can profoundly affect many aspects of mammalian reproduction and stress physiology, but little is known about how immune function is affected by rank and other socioecological factors in free-living animals. 2. In this study, we examine the effects of sex, social rank and reproductive status on immune function in long-lived carnivores that are routinely exposed to a plethora of pathogens, yet rarely show signs of disease. 3. Here, we show that two types of immune defences, complement-mediated bacterial killing capacity (BKC) and total IgM, are positively correlated with social rank in wild hyenas, but that a third type, total IgG, does not vary with rank. 4. Female spotted hyenas, which are socially dominant to males in this species, have higher BKC, and higher IgG and IgM concentrations, than do males. 5. Immune defences are lower in lactating than pregnant females, suggesting the immune defences may be energetically costly. 6. Serum cortisol and testosterone concentrations are not reliable predictors of basic immune defences in wild female spotted hyenas. 7. These results suggest that immune defences are costly and multiple socioecological variables are important determinants of basic immune defences among wild hyenas. The effects of these variables should be accounted for when attempting to understand disease ecology and immune function.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:antibody, complement, ecoimmunology, hyena, immunology, lactation, sex, social rank, wild immunity
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Immunology
Research Field:Cellular immunology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Flies, AS (Dr Andy Flies)
UTAS Author:Flies, EJ (Dr Emily Flies)
ID Code:107706
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-03-22
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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