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Interactions between environmental variables determine immunity in the Indian meal moth Plodia interpunctella.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21999965     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
1. Animals raised in good environmental conditions are expected to have more resources to invest in immunity than those raised in poor conditions. Variation in immune activity and parasite resistance in response to changes in environmental temperature, population density and food quality have been shown in many invertebrate species. 2. Almost all studies to date have examined the effects of individual variables in isolation. The aim of this study was to address whether environmental factors interact to produce synergistic effects on phenoloxidase (PO) activity and haemocyte count, both indicators of immune system activity. Temperature, food quality and density were varied in a fully factorial design for a total of eight treatment combinations. 3. Strong interactions between the three environmental variables led to the magnitude and in some cases the direction of the effect of most variables changing as the other environmental factors were altered. Overall, food quality had the most important and consistent influence, larvae raised on a good-quality diet having substantially higher PO activity in every case and substantially higher haemocyte counts in all treatments except unheated/low density. 4. When food quality was good, the larvae showed 'density-dependent prophylaxis': raising their investment in immunity when population density is high. When food quality was poor and the temperature low, however, those larvae raised at high densities invested less in immunity. 5. Increased temperature is often thought to lead to increased immune reactivity in ectotherms, but we found that the effect of temperature was strongly dependent on the values of other environmental variables. PO activity increased with temperature when larvae were raised on good food or when density was high, but when food was poor and density low, a higher temperature led to reduced PO activity. A higher temperature led to higher haemocyte counts when density was high and food quality was poor, but in all other cases, the effect of increased temperature was either close to zero or somewhat negative. 6. Although PO activity and haemocyte count were weakly correlated across the whole data set, there were a number of treatments where the two measures responded in different ways to environmental change. Overall, effect sizes for PO activity were substantially higher than those for haemocyte count, indicating that the different components of the immune system vary in their sensitivity to environmental change. 7. Predictions of the effect of environmental or population change on immunity and disease dynamics based on laboratory experiments that only investigate the effects of single variable are likely to be inaccurate or even entirely wrong.
Alison Triggs; Robert J Knell
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-10-14
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of animal ecology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1365-2656     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-10-17     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376574     Medline TA:  J Anim Ecol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK.
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