Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mothers pass on disease clues to offspring

08.01.2009
When there is a threat of disease during pregnancy, mothers produce less aggressive sons with more efficient immune systems, researchers at The University of Nottingham have discovered.

The study provides the first evidence for a transgenerational effect on immune response based on environmental cues — with maternal perception of disease risk in the immediate environment potentially determining offspring disease resistance and social dominance. The results are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Royal Society’s flagship biological research journal.

Pregnant female mice were housed next to males infected with Babesia microti, which is a mild blood parasite causing few symptoms, but some anaemia. The partitioned cages allowed the females to see, hear and smell their infected neighbours, but not touch them, ensuring that the disease did not spread. Researchers then measured the effect of these ‘ambient cues’ on maternal physiology and behaviour, along with the social behaviour and immune response to disease challenge in the adult offspring.

The dams (female mice that had given birth) were found to have increased blood serum levels of corticosterone after being housed next to the infected males — double the amount found in dams housed next to a control group of males that were not infected. Corticosterone is a stress hormone known to have effects on foetal and new-born development.

The offspring of the dams exposed to infected neighbours were significantly less aggressive as adults than the control group offspring. In the final part of the experiment, all offspring were infected with B microti to see if the ambient exposure affected their immunity. The offspring which had developed in the diseased environment showed an earlier onset, peak and clearance of the infection than the offspring from the control dams.

The research group in the University’s School of Biology have studied many populations of mice, and noted that aggression is associated with social dominance and territory acquisition — and consequently increased access to mating opportunities. However, studies in a wide range of species have shown that the benefits of aggressive behaviour are counter balanced by reduced resistance to disease. The results of this new study support the existence of a ‘trade off’ between social dominance and disease resistance.

“It seems that the mothers in our study are priming offspring for the environment they will live in. When the risk of disease is high, improved immunity may outweigh any costs associated with reduced social dominance.” said Dr Olivia Curno, who led the research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

“It is unlikely that mice are the only species with this fascinating ability. Therefore our work may have important implications for our understanding of epidemiological processes and individual disease susceptibility in general. Future investigation should explore exactly how the females detect disease in their neighbours and use this information so cleverly.”

Tara de Cozar | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk
http://communications.nottingham.ac.uk/News/Article/A-life-in-pain-new-study-examines-the-experiences-of-older-people.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>