Abstract # 3133 Event # 58:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 04:30 PM-04:45 PM: Session 12 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


CHARACTERIZATION OF IMMUNOCOMPETENCE VIA IMMUNOGLOBULIN A IN WILD CHIMPANZEES (PAN TROGLODYTES SCHWEINFURTHII) AT GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA

E. L. Lantz1, R. M. Santymire1,2, C. M. Murray1, M. Heintz1,2, I. Lipende1,3, D. A. Travis1,4 and E. V. Lonsdorf1,2
1Lincoln Park Zoo, Conservation Programs, 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614, USA, 2Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA, 3Gombe Stream Research Centre, Kigoma, Tanzania, 4College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
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Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the primary antibody responsible for mucosal defense in mammals and has been validated in other species as a marker for chronic stress. However, this antibody has not been previously examined in wildlife and may be a more accurate indicator of an individual’s immunocompetence than current measures. In this study, we characterized IgA concentrations in wild chimpanzees for the first time and examined differences with regards to age, sex, reproductive status and season. Non-invasive fecal samples (n = 1,117) were collected from 59 individuals between November 2009 and October 2010. These were extracted in the field using techniques developed for hormones and modified for IgA. We then quantified IgA concentrations (ng/g) using a commercial human IgA enzyme immunoassay. Our analyses demonstrated that IgA concentrations varied (p <0.001) among individuals but not by age category or sex. On the whole, monthly mean IgA concentrations increased (p <0.001) over the course of the study. This temporal pattern was consistent when divided into seasonal quartiles; mean IgA concentrations were greater (p <0.001) in the late dry season than early wet, late wet or early dry seasons. This basic understanding of how IgA concentrations fluctuate among individuals and with season can help provide a foundation for future work, including understanding the relationship between individual variation and susceptibility to infectious disease.