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Senescence in immune priming and attractiveness in a beetle
- DAUKŠTE, J., KIVLENIECE, I., KRAMA, T., RANTALA, M. J., KRAMS, I.
- Journal of evolutionary biology 2012 v.25 no.7 pp. 1298-1304
- invertebrates, longevity, males, vertebrates, Tenebrio molitor, immune response, immune system, nylon, odors
- Age‐related decline in immune activity is referred to as immunosenescence and has been observed for both the adaptive immune response of vertebrates and the innate immune system of invertebrates. Because maintaining a basic level of immune defence and mounting an immune response is costly, optimal investment in immune function should vary over a wide range of individual states such as the individual’s age. In this study, we tested whether the immune response and immunological priming within individuals become less efficient with age using mealworm beetles, Tenebrio molitor, as a model organism. We also tested whether ageing and immunological priming affected the odours produced by males. We found that young males of T. molitor were capable of mounting an immune response a sterile nylon monofilament implant with the potential to exhibit a simple form of immune memory through mechanisms of immune priming. Older males did not increase their immune response to a second immune challenge, which negatively affected their sexual attractiveness and remaining life span. Our results indicate that the immune system of older males in T. molitor is less effective, suggesting complex evolutionary trade‐offs between ageing, immune response and sexual attractiveness.