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Variations in immune parameters with age in a wild rodent population and links with survival
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  • Coraline Bichet,
  • Corinne Régis,
  • Emmanuelle Gilet-Fromont,
  • Aurélie Cohas
Coraline Bichet

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Corinne Régis
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Emmanuelle Gilet-Fromont
VetAgro Sup
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Aurélie Cohas
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Recent findings suggest that immune functions do not unidirectionally deteriorate with age but that a potentially adaptive remodelling where functions of the immune system get down regulated while others get upregulated with age could also occur. Scarce in wild populations, longitudinal studies are yet necessary to properly understand the patterns and consequences of age variations of the immune system in the wild. In the meanwhile, it is challenging to understand if the observed variations in immune parameters with age are due to changes at the within-individual level or to selective (dis)appearance of individuals with peculiar immune phenotypes. Thanks to a long-term and longitudinal monitoring of a wild population of Alpine marmots, we aimed to understand within- and between-individual variation in the immune phenotype with age, in order to improve our knowledge about the occurrence and the evolutionary consequence of such age-variations in the wild. To do so, we recorded the age-specific leukocyte concentration and profile in repeatedly sampled dominant individuals. We then tested whether the potential changes with age were more likely due to within-individual variations and/or selective (dis)appearance. Finally, we investigated if the leukocyte concentration and profiles were correlated to the probability of death at a given age. The leukocyte concentration was stable with age, but the lymphocyte count decreased, while the neutrophil count increased, over the course of an individual’s life. Moreover, between individuals of the same age, individuals with fewer lymphocytes but more neutrophils were more likely to die. Therefore, selective disappearance seems to play an important role in the age variations of the immune parameters in this population. Further investigations linking age variations in immune phenotype to individual fitness are needed to understand whether remodelling of the immune system with age could or could not be adaptive.
28 Mar 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
28 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
28 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
01 Apr 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
30 May 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
14 Jun 20221st Revision Received
15 Jun 2022Submission Checks Completed
15 Jun 2022Assigned to Editor
15 Jun 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Jun 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Jul 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 7. 10.1002/ece3.9094