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Age-related pharmacodynamics in a bumblebee-microsporidian system mirror similar patterns in vertebrates

Age-related pharmacodynamics in a bumblebee-microsporidian system mirror similar patterns in vertebrates

Folly, Arran, Stevenson, Philip ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619 and Brown, Mark (2020) Age-related pharmacodynamics in a bumblebee-microsporidian system mirror similar patterns in vertebrates. Journal of Experimental Biology, 223 (6):jeb217828. ISSN 0022-0949 (Print), 1477-9145 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.217828)

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Abstract

Immune systems provide a key defence against diseases. However, they are not a panacea and so both vertebrates and invertebrates co-opt naturally occurring bioactive compounds to treat themselves against parasites and pathogens. In vertebrates this co-option is complex, with pharmacodynamics leading to differential effects of treatment at different life stages, which may reflect age-linked differences in the immune system. However, our understanding of pharmacodynamics in invertebrates is almost non-existent. Critically, this knowledge may elucidate broad parallels across animals in regard to the requirement for the co-option of bioactive compounds to ameliorate disease. Here we use biochanin A, an isoflavone found in the pollen of red clover (Trifolium pratense), to therapeutically treat Nosema bombi (Microsporidia) infection in bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) larvae and adults, and thus examine age-linked pharmacodynamics in an invertebrate. Therapeutic treatment of larvae with biochanin A did not reduce the infection intensity of N. bombi in adults. In contrast, therapeutic treatment of adults did reduce the infection intensity of N. bombi. This transition in parasite resistance to bioactive compounds mirrors the age-linked pharmacodynamics of vertebrates. Understanding how different life-history stages respond to therapeutic compounds will provide novel insights into the evolution of foraging and self-medication behaviour in natural systems more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bombus terrestris, Nosema bombi, pollinator health, Trifolium pratense, phytochemicals, medication
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Chemical Ecology Research Group
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 14:03
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27081

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