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Urbanization and anticoagulant poisons promote immune dysfunction in bobcats


Serieys, LE and Lea, AJ and Epeldegui, M and Armenta, TC and Moriarty, J and VandeWoude, S and Carver, S and Foley, J and Wayne, RK and Riley, SPD and Uittenbogaart, CH, Urbanization and anticoagulant poisons promote immune dysfunction in bobcats, Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences, 285, (1871) Article 20172533. ISSN 0962-8452 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.2533


Understanding how human activities influence immune response to environmental stressors can support biodiversity conservation across increasingly urbanizing landscapes. We studied a bobcat (Lynx rufus) population in urban southern California that experienced a rapid population decline from 20022005 due to notoedric mange. Because anticoagulant rodenticide (AR) exposure was an underlying complication in mange deaths, we aimed to understand sublethal contributions of urbanization and ARs on 65 biochemical markers of immune and organ function. Variance in immunological variables was primarily associated with AR exposure and secondarily with urbanization. Use of urban habitat and AR exposure has pervasive, complex and predictable effects on biochemical markers of immune and organ function in free-ranging bobcats that include impacts on neutrophil, lymphocyte and cytokine populations, total bilirubin and phosphorus. We find evidence of both inflammatory response and immune suppression associated with urban land use and rat poison exposure that could influence susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Consequently, AR exposure may influence mortality and has population-level effects, as previous work in the focal population has revealed substantial mortality caused by mange infection. The secondary effects of anticoagulant exposure may be a worldwide, largely unrecognized problem affecting a variety of vertebrate species in human-dominated environments.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bobcat, anticoagulant, urban, anticoagulant rodenticide, inflammation, immune suppression, Lynx rufus, urbanization
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Host-parasite interactions
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response)
UTAS Author:Carver, S (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
ID Code:124341
Year Published:2018 (online first 2017)
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2018-02-19
Last Modified:2018-05-10

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