Immune parameters in different age classes of captive male Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri)

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The immune system is important for host defense against antigens, but little is known about Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) immunology. This study compared hematological parameters, serum protein levels, lymphocyte proliferation, heat shock protein levels and oxidative damage in four different age classes of captive male Steller's eiders. The hatch year cohort had significantly higher total white blood cell and lymphocyte counts. The second year cohort had significantly higher albumin, alpha globulins and lymphocyte proliferation, and significantly lower beta globulin levels. The 9 year old males had a significantly higher IgY:IgY(ΔFc) ratio. The oldest eiders in the study, 14 + year old males, had significantly higher serum IgY, pre-albumin and glutathione reductase activity, and the lowest lymphocyte proliferation. This study provided a baseline of immune parameters in captive male Steller's eiders, and the results suggested the parameters were influenced by age-related changes.HighlightsImmune parameters in Steller's eiders are influenced by age.The youngest eiders had evidence of immature immune function.The oldest eiders had the lowest lymphocyte proliferation and the highest antioxidant activity.Immunoglobulin Y and pre-albumin levels in serum may reflect age-related physiological changes.

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