[MARMAM] New publication: Parasitism Elicits a Stress Response That Allocates Resources for Immune Function in South American Fur Seals (Arctocephalus australis)

Geno DeRango gderango at gmail.com
Tue Apr 23 13:22:14 PDT 2019


My co-authors and I would like to share with you our recent publication:

Mauricio Seguel, Diego Perez-Venegas, Josefina Gutierrez, Daniel E. Crocker,
and Eugene J. DeRango.

Parasitism elicits a stress response that allocates resources for immune
function in South American fur seals (*Arctocephalus australis*)
Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 92, no. 3 (May/June 2019): 326-338.

The article may be reached via this link: https://doi.org/10.1086/702960
Please contact me at gderango at gmail.com if you would like to request a PDF

Parasites can cause chronic stress in some animal species, and this type of
stress response has been associated with adverse consequences for the host.
In order to know whether parasitism elicited a stress response associated
with decreased host fitness, hookworm (*Uncinaria* sp.) infection was
studied in a colony of South American fur seals (*Arctocephalus australis*)
in which hookworms infect nearly all pups born in a reproductive season. A
parasite-free group was generated by treating a subset of pups with an
antiparasitic drug before they developed patent hookworm infection. Stress
and metabolic hormones, energy balance, and humoral and cellular immune
parameters were measured in this group and hookworm-infected pups.
Hookworms elicited a marked increase in plasma cortisol levels in fur seal
pups. These hookworm-infected pups were able to maintain constant glucose
levels, despite losing body mass over the course of infection potentially
because of increased protein catabolism. Infected pups were able to mount
an effective immune response against the parasite and eliminated hookworms
from the intestine, recovering partial body mass lost as a result of
hookworm infection at the end of the study period. As shown in previous
studies, adequate glucose levels are critical for proper T lymphocyte
reactivity, and it is possible that, through activation of a stress
response, energy can be readily available for immune response against the
parasite contributing to early recovery from infection. Although there are
potential fitness costs to mounting a sustained stress response, these
could also be adaptive and promote survival during critical life-history

Best regards,
Geno DeRango
PhD Student
Galapagos Sea Lion Project
Bielefeld University
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