Juvenile nutritional stress affects growth rate, adult organ mass, and innate immune function in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

Kriengwatana, B. , Wada, H., Macmillan, A. and MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A. (2013) Juvenile nutritional stress affects growth rate, adult organ mass, and innate immune function in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 86(6), pp. 769-781. (doi: 10.1086/673260) (PMID:24241073)

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Developmental conditions may influence many aspects of adult phenotype, including growth and immune function. Whether poor developmental environments impair both growth and immune function or induce a trade-off between the two processes is inconclusive, and the impact of the timing of stress in determining this relationship has so far been overlooked. We tested the hypothesis that the long-term effects of nutritional stress on growth, body composition, and immune function in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are different depending on whether stress is experienced during an early or a juvenile phase (i.e., before or after nutritional independence, respectively). We raised birds on high (H) or low (L) food conditions until posthatch day (PHD) 35 and switched treatments for half of the birds in each of the H and L groups from PHD 36 to 61. We found that unfavorable juvenile conditions (PHD 36–61) increased somatic growth rates and liver mass, body fat, and some aspects of immune function. We also observed a positive relationship between growth and immune function, as individuals that grew faster as juveniles also had better innate immune responses as adults. There was no effect of treatment on basal metabolic rate. These findings demonstrate the importance of juvenile developmental conditions in shaping multiple aspects of the adult phenotype.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kriengwatana, Dr Pralle
Authors: Kriengwatana, B., Wada, H., Macmillan, A., and MacDougall-Shackleton, S. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN (Online):1537-5293
Published Online:09 September 2013

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