Non-invasive quantification of immunoglobulin A in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Gombe National Park, Tanzania

Emma L. Lantz, Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Matthew R. Heintz, Carson M. Murray, Iddi Lipende, Dominic A. Travis, Rachel M. Santymire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the primary antibody responsible for mucosal defense in mammals and has been used as a marker for chronic stress and immune status. Therefore, this antibody may provide a more reliable indicator of an individual's immunocompetence than is currently available through other methods. Immunoglobulin A has never before been quantified in a wild population of non-human primates using non-invasive sample collection techniques. In this study, we present methodology for non-invasive IgA extraction in the field and provide quantification of mean fecal IgA concentrations in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). During the study period (November 2009–October 2010), we collected fecal samples (N = 1463) from 59 individuals at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. We modified a field extraction technique for steroidal hormones to extract IgA from the fecal samples and then quantified mean IgA concentrations (ng/g) using a commercial human IgA enzyme immunoassay. Mean IgA concentration varied among individuals but not by sex or reproductive status. Mature animals tended toward higher mean IgA concentration than immature. Mean IgA concentration differed by quartile season, following a similar pattern previously observed for respiratory illness rates in this population, with the late dry season having significantly higher averages than the late wet. A circadian rhythm was also evident with mean IgA concentrations higher in samples collected in the latter half of the day. These demographic and temporal patterns of IgA concentration provide baseline values necessary to interpret future results, which may be combined with other health values to better understand the role of health and long-term stress in wild great ape populations. Am. J. Primatol. 80:e22558, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22558
JournalAmerican journal of primatology
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Contract grant sponsor: U.S. Student Fulbright; contract grant sponsor: National Institutes of Health; contract grant number: R00HD057992; contract grant sponsor: Davee Foundation; contract grant sponsor: Leo S. Guthman Foundation; contract grant sponsor: Leakey Foundation; contract grant sponsor: Wenner-Gren Foundation; contract grant sponsor: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Gombe Stream Research Centre staff and assistants for assistance in the field, particularly Juma Bara-nyikwa and Amri Yahaya, Diana Armstrong for lab support, and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center veterinary and animal care staff. Additional thanks are due to the Government of Tanzania, Tanzania National Parks, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and Jane Goodall Institute for their permission and support regarding this research. Sample collection, processing, and other work were funded by a U.S. Student Fulbright grant to ELL, the National Institutes of Health (R00HD057992) to CMM, the Davee Foundation, the Leo S. Guthman Foundation and the Leakey Foundation, the Wenner- Gren Foundation, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to MRH.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Gombe Stream Research Centre staff and assistants for assistance in the field, particularly Juma Baranyikwa and Amri Yahaya, Diana Armstrong for lab support, and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center veterinary and animal care staff. Additional thanks are due to the Government of Tanzania, Tanzania National Parks, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, and Jane Goodall Institute for their permission and support regarding this research. Sample collection, processing, and other work were funded by a U.S. Student Fulbright grant to ELL, the National Institutes of Health (R00HD057992) to CMM, the Davee Foundation, the Leo S. Guthman Foundation and the Leakey Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to MRH.

Keywords

  • field methods
  • great apes
  • health
  • immune system
  • stress

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