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J Insect Physiol. 2012 Nov;58(11):1450-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Sep 15.

Interplay between behavioural thermoregulation and immune response in mealworms.

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Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 6513677, Chile.


Since the preferential body temperature should positively correlate with physiological performance, behavioural fever should enhance an organism's immune response under an immune challenge. Here we have studied the preferential body temperature (T(p)) and its consequences on immune response performance after an immune challenge in larvae of Tenebrio molitor. We evaluated T(p) and immune responses of larvae following a challenge with various concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and we studied the correlation between T(p) and two immune traits, namely antibacterial and phenoloxidase (PO) activities. Larvae that were immune challenged with higher LPS concentrations (C(50) and C(100)) preferred in average, warmer temperatures than did larvae challenged with lower concentrations (C(0) and C(25)). T(p) of C(25)-C(100) (challenged)-mealworms was 2.3°C higher than of C(0) (control) larvae. At lower LPS concentration immune challenge (C(0) and C(25)) antibacterial activity correlated positively with T(p), but at C(50) and C(100) correlation was lose. PO activity was higher at higher LPS concentration, but its magnitude of response did not correlate with T(p) Our data suggest that behavioural fever may have a positive effect on host performance by enhancing antibacterial response under a low pathogen load situation.

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