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J Comp Physiol B. 2007 Apr;177(3):339-47. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Metabolic stress suppresses humoral immune function in long-day, but not short-day, Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus).

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Department of Biology, Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior and Program in Neuroscience, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


Individuals of many species experience marked seasonal variation in environmental conditions and must adapt to potentially large fluctuations in energy availability and expenditure. Seasonal changes in immunity have likely evolved as an adaptive mechanism to cope with seasonal stressors. In addition, these changes may be constrained by seasonal fluctuations in energy availability. The goal of this study was to assess the role of energetic trade-offs associated with seasonal variation in immunity. In addition to body fat stores, metabolic fuels (e.g., glucose) may affect immune function in seasonally breeding rodents. In this study we experimentally reduced energy availability via injections of the metabolic inhibitor 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) in long- and short-day housed Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) and then examined antigen-specific antibody production. Metabolic stress decreased antibody response compared with control animals in long days. In contrast, no difference was observed between treatment groups in short days. These data suggest that reductions in energy availability suppress immunity and short days buffer organisms against glucoprivation-induced immunosuppression.

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