The validity of antibody and lymphocyte response as measures of social stress in farmed red deer hinds was assessed by comparison with other indices of stress (behaviour, adrenal capacity and liveweight gain). 10 "wild" red deer (mixed, M), born to wild hinds after capture, were each housed in 10 separate groups of 5 farmed deer. After 2 weeks the groups were completely re-mixed. Mixing was repeated at weekly intervals for 4 successive weeks. As a control, 10 "wild" deer (C) were maintained in the same 2 groups of 5 throughout the study. All wild deer were immunized with keyhole limpet haemocyanin (KLH) 1 week before re-mixing (week 2). Mixed deer were subjected to more aggression than C deer. At week 6, plasma cortisol concentrations after ACTH injection increased more in M than C deer. There were no differences in liveweight gain between M and C deer. Lymphocyte responses to KLH were significantly lower in M than C deer, but there were no differences in antibody response to KLH. It is concluded that the repeated mixing of groups was a significant social stressor and that lymphocyte response to an antigen may be a more sensitive immunological measure of social stress in red deer than antibody response.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB9 2QL, UK.|
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