2018-09-06Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.25646/5729
Urinary neopterin levels increase and predict survival during a respiratory outbreak in wild chimpanzees (Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire)
Wu, Doris F.
Wittig, Roman M.
Leendertz, Fabian H.
Monitoring immune system activation of wild animals has garnered increasing interest within the field of ecological immunology, leading to an urgent need for non-invasive biomarkers measuring these changes. Urinary neopterin, a marker of the cell-mediated immune response, is validated as an immune-related biomarker in captive and laboratory animals. However, wild animals naturally host higher and chronic pathogen loads. Therefore, detection and quantification of additional infections via neopterin might not be possible against the background of a chronically challenged immune system. To assess the suitability of urinary neopterin in wild animals, we measured neopterin corrected for specific gravity with an enzyme immunoassay in 185 samples collected before, during and after a respiratory disease outbreak in 28 individuals from a group of wild chimpanzees (Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire). Urinary neopterin levels were significantly higher during periods when individuals showed respiratory symptoms versus before and after the outbreak. Furthermore, urinary neopterin levels were significantly higher in individuals that died, with higher levels already apparent before the outbreak, suggesting individuals may have an already activated immune system. Measuring urinary neopterin levels, with other biomarkers of energetic condition, stress challenges, and reproduction will contribute towards a deeper understanding of life-history trade-offs in wild animals.
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