Steroid hormone related male biased parasitism in chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra

Hoby, Stefan; Schwarzenberger, Franz; Doherr, Marcus G; Robert, Nadia; Walzer, Christian (2006). Steroid hormone related male biased parasitism in chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra. Veterinary parasitology, 138(3-4), pp. 337-48. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.vetpar.2006.01.028

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Parasites are linked with their host in a trophic interaction with implications for both hosts and parasites. Interaction stretches from the host's immune response to the structuring of communities and the evolution of biodiversity. As in many species sex determines life history strategy, response to parasites may be sex-specific. Males of vertebrate species tend to exhibit higher rates of parasites than females. Sex-associated hormones may influence immunocompetence and are hypothesised to lead to this bias. In a field study, we tested the prediction of male biased parasitism (MBP) in free ranging chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra), which are infested intensely by gastrointestinal and lung helminths. We further investigated sex differences in faecal androgen (testosterone and epiandrosterone), cortisol and oestrogen metabolites using enzyme immunoassays (EIA) to evaluate the impact of these hormones on sex dependent parasite susceptibility. Non-invasive methods were used and the study was conducted throughout a year to detect seasonal patterns. Hormone levels and parasite counts varied significantly throughout the year. Male chamois had a higher output of gastrointestinal eggs and lungworm larvae when compared to females. The hypothesis of MBP originating in sex related hormone levels was confirmed for the elevated output of lungworm larvae, but not for the gastrointestinal nematodes. The faecal output of lungworm larvae was significantly correlated with androgen and cortisol metabolite levels. Our study shows that sex differences in steroid levels play an important role to explain MBP, although they alone cannot fully explain the phenomenon.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DVK - Clinical Research [discontinued]
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Experimental Clinical Research
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)

UniBE Contributor:

Hoby, Stefan, Doherr, Marcus, Robert, Nadia


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:14

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URI: (FactScience: 838)

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