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EcoHealth

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 360–371 | Cite as

Parasite Tolerance and Host Competence in Avian Host Defense to West Nile Virus

  • Sarah C. Burgan
  • Stephanie S. Gervasi
  • Lynn B. Martin
Original Contribution

Abstract

Competence, or the propensity of a host to transmit parasites, is partly underlain by host strategies to cope with infection (e.g., resistance and tolerance). Resistance represents the ability of hosts to prevent or clear infections, whereas tolerance captures the ability of individuals to cope with a given parasite burden. Here, we investigated (1) whether one easy-to-measure form of tolerance described well the dynamic relationships between host health and parasite burden, and (2) whether individual resistance and tolerance to West Nile virus (WNV) were predictable from single cytokine measures. We exposed house sparrows (HOSP) to WNV and measured subsequent changes in host performance, viral burden, and cytokine expression. We then used two novel approaches (one complex, one simpler) to estimate tolerance within-individual HOSP using four separate host performance traits. We lastly investigated changes in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokine interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). Both approaches to estimating tolerance were equivalent among WNV-infected HOSP; thus, an easy-to-measure tolerance estimation may be successfully applied in field studies. Constitutive expression of IFN-γ and IL-10 were predictive of resistance and tolerance to WNV, implicating these cytokines as viable biomarkers of host competence to WNV.

Keywords

behavior biomarkers competence disease methodology transmission 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Drs. Thomas Unnasch and Hassan Hassan for their support on the WNV grant conceiving of this work, and Dr. Laura Schoenle for her help and advice in developing the position method of estimating tolerance. We also appreciate the assistance of Dr. Amber Brace, Holly Kilvitis, and the rest of the Martin and Unnasch labs for their support and feedback. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Integrative Organismal Systems [1257773 to LBM], the American Ornithologists Union [AOU Award to SCB], Sigma-Xi [Grants-in-Aid of Research to SCB], the Porter Family Foundation [Porter Award to SCB] and the Animal Behavior Society [ABS Student Research Grant to SCB].

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data Availability

Data will be made publically available from the Dryad Digital Repository.

Ethical Approval

All applicable institutional and/or national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

10393_2018_1332_MOESM1_ESM.docx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)
10393_2018_1332_MOESM2_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 12 kb)

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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah C. Burgan
    • 1
  • Stephanie S. Gervasi
    • 2
  • Lynn B. Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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