The effects of testosterone on immune function in quail selected for divergent plasma corticosterone response

Roberts, Mark L., Buchanan, Katherine L., Evans, Matthew R., Marin, Raul H. and Satterlee, Daniel G. 2009, The effects of testosterone on immune function in quail selected for divergent plasma corticosterone response, The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 212, pp. 3125-3131.

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Title The effects of testosterone on immune function in quail selected for divergent plasma corticosterone response
Author(s) Roberts, Mark L.
Buchanan, Katherine L.
Evans, Matthew R.
Marin, Raul H.
Satterlee, Daniel G.
Journal name The Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume number 212
Start page 3125
End page 3131
Total pages 7
Publisher The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Place of publication Cambridge, England
Publication date 2009
ISSN 0022-0949
1477-9145
Keyword(s) testosterone
corticosterone
immunity
stress
Japanese quail
PHA
SRBC
selection lines
body mass
Summary The immunocompetence handicap hypothesis (ICHH) suggests that the male sex hormone testosterone has a dual effect; it controls the development and expression of male sexually selected signals, and it suppresses the immune system. Therefore only high quality males are able to fully express secondary sexual traits because only they can tolerate the immunosuppressive qualities of testosterone. A modified version of the ICHH suggests that testosterone causes immunosuppression indirectly by increasing the stress hormone corticosterone (CORT). Lines of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) selected for divergent responses in levels of plasma CORT were used to test these hypotheses. Within each CORT response line (as well as in a control stock) we manipulated levels of testosterone in castrated quail by treatment with zero (sham), low or high testosterone implants, before testing the birdsʼ humoral immunity and phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-induced immune response, as well as body condition. The PHA-induced response was not significantly affected by CORT selected line, testosterone treatment or their interaction. There was, however, a significant effect of CORT line on humoral immunity in that the control birds exhibited the greatest antibody production, but there was no significant effect of testosterone manipulation on humoral immunity. The males in the sham implant treatment group had significantly greater mass than the males in the high testosterone group, suggesting a negative effect of high testosterone on general body condition. We discuss these results in the context of current hypotheses in the field of sexual selection.
Language eng
Field of Research 060303 Biological Adaptation
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, The Company of Biologists Ltd.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30029137

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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