Do inflammatory responses reduce tolerance of infection?
Once infected, a host can attempt to kill the infecting pathogen (resistance) and/or minimize per-pathogen reductions in fitness (tolerance). Although inflammatory responses like fever, free-radical production, and localized swelling can help clear a variety of parasites (i.e., increase resistance), these responses have a high potential to damage a host's own tissues (i.e., decrease tolerance). In collaboration with Dana Hawley and Rami Dalloul at Virginia Tech, I am investigating the mechanistic and evolutionary relationships among inflammatory responses, tolerance, and pathogen transmission in house finches infected with Mycoplasma gallisepticum, a bacterial pathogen that first jumped from poultry into wild songbirds in the 1990s.
Adelman, J.S., L. Kirkpatrick, J.L. Grodio, and D.M. Hawley. 2013. House finch populations differ in early inflammatory signaling and pathogen tolerance at the peak of Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection. The American Naturalist 181: 674-689.