Variation in haematological indices and immune function during the annual cycle in the Great Tit Parus major

Péter L. Pap, Csongor I. Vágási, Jácint Tökölyi, Gábor Á Czirják, Z. Barta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated seasonal variation in haematological indices and immune function in the non-migratory Great Tit Parus major over a complete annual cycle. The haematocrit value showed a marked reduction in spring and summer, reaching a lowest value during moult, after which it increased to reach a maximum in winter and spring. The peak in the heterophil to lymphocyte ratio (H/L) during July indicated that Great Tits were the most stressed during the first half of the moulting period. The increase in heterophils and H/L ratio, concurrent with a reduced number of lymphocytes during the breeding season, probably reflected the cost of reproduction in terms of physiological stress and immune suppression. After breeding the number of heterophils and the H/L ratio decreased, reaching a lowest value during winter. The concentration of immunoglobulins followed the seasonal pattern in the number of heterophils, though highest values occurred somewhat later, in July-September during the second part of the moulting period. Our observations indicated large differences in activity throughout the year of different components of the immune system. This suggests differences in function among the components and possibly differences in susceptibility to stress, parasitism and hormones during the annual cycle. When juveniles became independent of their parents, the immunoglobulin concentration increased, whereas other immune measures did not show a significant change. This indicates a rapid increase of at least one component of the immune system after the young fledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalArdea
Volume98
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Fingerprint

Parus major
heterophils
immune system
annual cycle
molting
winter
molt
parasitism
breeding season
immunoglobulins
hormone
seasonal variation
breeding
lymphocyte count
summer
cost
hematocrit
lymphocytes
hormones
index

Keywords

  • Annual cycle
  • Haematocrit
  • Health state
  • Immunity
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Parus major
  • White blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Pap, P. L., Vágási, C. I., Tökölyi, J., Czirják, G. Á., & Barta, Z. (2010). Variation in haematological indices and immune function during the annual cycle in the Great Tit Parus major. Ardea, 98(1), 105-112.

Variation in haematological indices and immune function during the annual cycle in the Great Tit Parus major. / Pap, Péter L.; Vágási, Csongor I.; Tökölyi, Jácint; Czirják, Gábor Á; Barta, Z.

In: Ardea, Vol. 98, No. 1, 03.2010, p. 105-112.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pap, PL, Vágási, CI, Tökölyi, J, Czirják, GÁ & Barta, Z 2010, 'Variation in haematological indices and immune function during the annual cycle in the Great Tit Parus major', Ardea, vol. 98, no. 1, pp. 105-112.
Pap, Péter L. ; Vágási, Csongor I. ; Tökölyi, Jácint ; Czirják, Gábor Á ; Barta, Z. / Variation in haematological indices and immune function during the annual cycle in the Great Tit Parus major. In: Ardea. 2010 ; Vol. 98, No. 1. pp. 105-112.
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