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White blood cell counts in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) before and after moult and after testosterone treatment

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Abstract:

In this study two experiments were run in parallel. To evaluate the possible influence of moult and age on differential white blood cell (WBC) counts, we captured juvenile and adult house sparrows (Passer domesticus) and housed them in outdoor aviaries. Blood was collected twice, before and after moult. Numbers of basophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes were higher in juveniles than in adults, whereas numbers of eosinophilic cells were similar in the two age groups. Moult induced an increase in basophils and monocytes in both juveniles and adults. This indicates that moult and age impose different immunological challenges on house sparrows. To evaluate the effect of testosterone on differential WBC counts, some house sparrows in aviaries received testosterone during the moult period. Testosterone administration reduced, though not significantly, the number of all WBC types in juveniles, and therefore appeared to have an nonspecific effect. However, the number of lymphocytes increased only in adults, which suggests a specific effect on this cell type in this age group.

Pour cette étude, deux expériences ont été menées en parallèle. Pour évaluer l'influence possible de la mue et de l'âge sur les dénombrements différentiels des globules blancs (WBC), nous avons capturé des Moineaux domestiques (Passer domesticus) juvéniles et des moineaux adultes que nous avons gardés dans des volières à l'extérieur. Du sang a été prélevé à deux reprises, avant et après la mue. Les juvéniles ont plus de basophiles, de lymphocytes et de monocytes que les adultes alors que le nombre de granules éosinophiles est semblable chez les deux groupes. La mue déclenche une augmentation des basophiles chez les juvéniles et les adultes, ce qui indique que la mue et l'âge génèrent des défis immunologiques différents chez le Moineau domestique. Pour évaluer l'effet de la testostérone sur les dénombrements différentiels des globules blancs, nous avons administré de la testostérone à des moineaux de la volière au cours de la période de mue. La testostérone réduit le nombre de chacun des types de globules blancs chez les juvéniles, mais pas significativement, ce qui semble un effet non spécifique. Cependant, l'hormone n'augmente que le nombre de lymphocytes chez les adultes, ce qui indique un effet spécifique de ce type de cellule chez les oiseaux de ce groupe d'âge.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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