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Senescence in immunity against helminth parasites predicts adult mortality in a wild mammal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1298
JournalScience
Volume365
Issue number6459
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2019

Abstract

Our understanding of the deterioration in immune function in old age—immunosenescence—derives principally from studies of modern human populations and laboratory animals. The generality and significance of this process for systems experiencing complex, natural infections and environmental challenges are unknown. Here, we show that late-life declines in an important immune marker of resistance to helminth parasites in wild Soay sheep predict overwinter mortality. We found senescence in circulating antibody levels against a highly prevalent nematode worm, which was associated with reduced adult survival probability, independent of changes in body weight. These findings establish a role for immunosenescence in the ecology and evolution of natural populations.

ID: 112858861