Transgenerational priming of immunity: maternal exposure to a bacterial antigen enhances offspring humoral immunity

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T1 - Transgenerational priming of immunity: maternal exposure to a bacterial antigen enhances offspring humoral immunity

AU - Grindstaff, Jennifer

AU - Hasselquist, Dennis

AU - Nilsson, Jan-Åke

AU - Sandell, Maria

AU - Smith, Henrik

AU - Stjernman, Martin

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - Young vertebrates have limited capacity to synthesize antibodies and are dependent on the protection of maternally transmitted antibodies for humoral disease resistance early in life. However, mothers may enhance fitness by priming their offspring's immune systems to elevate disease resistance. Transgenerational induced defences have been documented in plants and invertebrates, but maternal priming of offspring immunity in vertebrates has been essentially neglected. To test the ability of mothers to stimulate the immune systems of offspring, we manipulated maternal and offspring antigen exposure in a wild population of birds, pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). We show that immunization of the mother before egg laying apparently stimulates a transgenerational defence against pathogens by elevating endogenous offspring antibody production. If the disease environments encountered by mothers and offspring are similar, this transgenerational immune priming may allow young to better cope with the local pathogen fauna.

AB - Young vertebrates have limited capacity to synthesize antibodies and are dependent on the protection of maternally transmitted antibodies for humoral disease resistance early in life. However, mothers may enhance fitness by priming their offspring's immune systems to elevate disease resistance. Transgenerational induced defences have been documented in plants and invertebrates, but maternal priming of offspring immunity in vertebrates has been essentially neglected. To test the ability of mothers to stimulate the immune systems of offspring, we manipulated maternal and offspring antigen exposure in a wild population of birds, pied flycatchers (Ficedula hypoleuca). We show that immunization of the mother before egg laying apparently stimulates a transgenerational defence against pathogens by elevating endogenous offspring antibody production. If the disease environments encountered by mothers and offspring are similar, this transgenerational immune priming may allow young to better cope with the local pathogen fauna.

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2006.3608

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2006.3608

M3 - Article

VL - 273

SP - 2551

EP - 2557

JO - Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences

T2 - Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences

JF - Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences

SN - 1471-2954

IS - 1600

ER -