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Neopterin Levels in Bonobos Vary Seasonally and Reflect Symptomatic Respiratory Infections

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

As environmental changes exacerbate the threat coming from infectious diseases in wild mammal species, monitoring their health and gaining a better understanding of the immune functioning at the species level have become critically important. Neopterin is a biomarker of cell-mediated immune responses to intracellular infections. We investigated the variation of urinary neopterin (uNeo) levels of wild, habituated bonobos (Pan paniscus) in relation to individual and environmental factors. We used 309 urine samples collected between 2010 and 2018 at the LuiKotale field site, DRC. Based on current knowledge on zoo-housed conspecifics and closely related species, we predicted uNeo levels to increase (1) during infections, (2) with increasing age, (3) over the gestation period and in estrous females; and (4) to vary seasonally. Our results showed uNeo levels varied over a one-year period and increased in individuals showing respiratory symptoms. Contrary to chimpanzees, uNeo levels did not vary with age or female reproductive status, possibly due to our small sample size. Our study provides a baseline for a better understanding of bonobo’s immunocompetence in the context of socio-ecological pressures and for monitoring the health of wild populations. © 2023, The Author(s).
Journal: Ecohealth
ISSN: 1612-9202
Issue: 1
Volume: 20
Pages: 93-104
Publication year:2023
Keywords:Animals, Biomarkers/urine, Female, Mammals, Neopterin/urine, Pan paniscus/physiology, Pan troglodytes, Respiratory Tract Infections/veterinary