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Data from: Immunocompetence in a long-lived ectothermic vertebrate is temperature dependent but shows no decline in older adults

Citation

Zimmerman, Laura M.; Carter, Amanda Wilson; Bowden, Rachel M.; Vogel, Laura A. (2018), Data from: Immunocompetence in a long-lived ectothermic vertebrate is temperature dependent but shows no decline in older adults, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0ds20

Abstract

1. Temperature affects nearly all aspects of the physiology of ectotherms, including their ability to mount an immune response. Typically, the ectothermic vertebrate immune system can respond over a wide range of temperatures, but there is a species-specific temperature at which responses are strongest, with impaired responses above and below this threshold. In long-lived ectotherms, aging could also influence the ability to respond to temperature changes as immunosenecence, the functional decrease in immune function with age, is widely reported. 2. This study examined the effects of the interaction between temperature and age on B cell function in a long-lived reptile, the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta. B cells in this species have previously been shown to have two main functions, phagocytosis and antibody production. 3. Adult turtles were trapped and blood samples taken. Because sliders grow throughout their lifetime, plastron length was used as a proxy for age. Leukocytes were isolated and used in either an ELISpot assay to examine their ability to produce antibodies spontaneously or when stimulated, or used in a phagocytic assay. The ELISpot and phagocytic assays were conducted over a range of biologically relevant temperatures. 4. We found no interaction between age and temperature on any measure of B cell function. In all cases there was a significant effect of temperature, with impaired function at temperatures below 29°C, but no impairment of function at higher temperatures. We also found little evidence of immunosenesce in any response. 5. This study provides insight into the thermal biology of B cell function in sliders and provides an interesting connection between immunology, behavior, and ecology in this long-lived turtle.

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