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Bumblebees are declining at alarming rate worldwide, posing a significant threat to the function and diversity of temperate ecosystems. These declines have been attributed, in part, to the direct effect of specific pathogens on bumblebee survival. However, pathogens may also have a negative impact on host populations indirectly through immune-induced cognitive deficits in infected individuals. To gain greater insight into mechanisms and potential conservation implications of such 'immune-brain crosstalk' in bumblebees, we non-pathogenetically activated humoral and cellular immune pathways in individuals and then tested for long-term reductions in cognitive performance and foraging proficiency. We show that chronic activation of humoral, but not a cellular, immune pathways and effectors in foragers significantly reduces their ability to flexibly and efficiently harvest resources in multi-sensory floral environments for at least 7 days post-treatment. Humoral defense responses thus have the potential to confer significant foraging costs to bumblebee foragers over timeframes that would negatively impact colony growth and reproductive output under natural conditions. Our findings indicate that fitness effects of immune-brain crosstalk should be considered before attributing wild bumblebee decline to a particular pathogen species.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Scientific reports
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Success in bringing an effort to the desired end; the degree or level of success attained in some specified area (esp. scholastic) or in general.
The biochemical and electrophysiological interactions between the NERVOUS SYSTEM and IMMUNE SYSTEM that result in regulation of the immune system by the nervous system.
A cellular phone with advanced computing and connectivity capability built on an operating system.
Alteration of the immune system or of an immune response by agents that activate or suppress its function. This can include IMMUNIZATION or administration of immunomodulatory drugs. Immunomodulation can also encompass non-therapeutic alteration of the immune system effected by endogenous or exogenous substances.
Mechanisms of action and interactions of the components of the IMMUNE SYSTEM.