The role of glucocorticoids in the vertebrate response to weather

Published on Dec 1, 2018in General and Comparative Endocrinology2.445
· DOI :10.1016/j.ygcen.2018.07.007
Robert de Bruijn5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Tufts University),
L. Michael Romero49
Estimated H-index: 49
(Tufts University)
Abstract Changes in the environment related to inclement weather can threaten survival and reproductive success both through direct adverse exposure and indirectly by decreasing food availability. Glucocorticoids, released during activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as part of the stress response, are an important candidate for linking vertebrate coping mechanisms to weather. This review attempts to determine if there is a consensus response of glucocorticoids to exposure to weather-related stimuli, including food availability, precipitation, temperature and barometric pressure. The included studies cover field and laboratory studies for all vertebrate taxa, and are separated into four exposure periods, e.g., hours, days, weeks and months. Each reported result was assigned a score based on the glucocorticoid response, e.g., increased, no change, or decreased. Short-term exposure to weather-related stimuli, of up to 24 h, is generally associated with increased glucocorticoids (79% of studies), suggesting that these stimuli are perceived as stressors by most animals. In contrast, the pattern for exposures longer than 24 h shows more variation, even though a majority of studies still report an increase (64%). Lack of glucocorticoid increases appeared to result from instances where: (1) prolonged exposure was a predictable part of the life history of an animal; (2) environmental context was important for the ultimate effect of a stimulus (e.g., precipitation limited food availability in one environment, but increased food in another); (3) prolonged exposure induced chronic stress; and (4) long-term responses appeared to reflect adaptations to seasonal shifts, instead of to short-term weather. However, there is a strong bias towards studies in domesticated laboratory species and wild animals held in captivity, indicating a need for field studies, especially in reptiles and amphibians. In conclusion, the accumulated literature supports the hypothesis that glucocorticoids can serve as the physiological mechanism promoting fitness during inclement weather.
  • References (378)
  • Citations (7)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
7 Citations
761 Citations
1 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Robert de Bruijn (Tufts University)H-Index: 5
#2J. Michael Reed (Tufts University)H-Index: 33
Last. L. Michael Romero (Tufts University)H-Index: 49
view all 3 authors...
3 CitationsSource
#1Jesse S. Krause (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 13
#2Jonathan H. Pérez (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 13
Last. John C. Wingfield (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 110
view all 4 authors...
Abstract For wild free-living animals the availability of food resources can be greatly affected by environmental perturbations such as weather events. In response to environmental perturbations, animals activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to adjust physiology and behavior. The literature asserts that during weather events food intake declines leading to changes in HPA axis activity, as measured by both baseline and stress-induced glucocorticoid concentrations. Here we investi...
5 CitationsSource
#1John C. Wingfield (UC: University of California)H-Index: 110
#2Jonathan H. Pérez (UC: University of California)H-Index: 13
Last. H. E. Chmura (UC: University of California)H-Index: 2
view all 7 authors...
As global climate change progresses, the occurrence of potentially disruptive climatic events such as storms are increasing in frequency, duration and intensity resulting in higher mortality and re...
17 CitationsSource
AbstractBirds need to respond to weather changes quickly and appropriately for their own well-being and survival. The inability to respond appropriately to heat waves can be fatal to individual birds and can translate into large-scale mortality events. We investigated corticosterone (CORT) and heterophil∶lymphocyte (H∶L) ratio responses of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), and diamond doves (Geopelia cuneata) to heat exposures. The birds were exposed to ...
7 CitationsSource
#1Alison C. Webb (MT: Middle Tennessee State University)H-Index: 1
#2Lacy D. Chick (UT: University of Tennessee)H-Index: 8
Last. Matthew Klukowski (MT: Middle Tennessee State University)H-Index: 5
view all 4 authors...
Abstract Lack of food is one of the most common natural stressors that animals face, yet the physiological response to food restriction in most nonmammalian species is poorly understood. Food restriction can elicit an elevation of plasma glucocorticoid hormones and changes in blood metabolites in several vertebrates, but this has not been shown in snakes, despite their remarkable ability to tolerate food shortages. The purpose of this study was to determine the physiological response to moderate...
2 CitationsSource
#1Md. Shahjahan (Niigata University)H-Index: 8
#2Takashi Kitahashi (Niigata University)H-Index: 18
Last. Hironori Ando (Niigata University)H-Index: 6
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Water temperature is an environmental factor of primary importance that influences reproductive function in fish. To understand the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying the regulation of reproduction by temperature, we examined changes in expression of genes encoding kisspeptin ( kiss2 ), kisspeptin receptor ( kiss2r ) and three gonadotropin-releasing hormones ( gnrh1 , gnrh2 and gnrh3 ) in the brain and genes encoding gonadotropin (GTH) subunits ( gpa , fshb and lhb ) in t...
8 CitationsSource
#1Habte-Michael Habte-Tsion (NAU: Nanjing Agricultural University)H-Index: 9
#2M.-C. Ren (Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences)H-Index: 2
Last. R.-L. Chen (Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences)H-Index: 1
view all 7 authors...
Summary This study hypothesized that an optimum dietary protein level might play an important role in improving stress tolerance, enhancing an immune function, and ultimately minimizing temperature stress. For this purpose, the present study conducted a 10-week feeding trial followed by a 7-day stress experiment to evaluate the effects of dietary protein levels (28%–36%) on the physiological performances and hepatic Hsp70 gene expression in blunt snout bream Megalobrama amblycephala fry under a ...
4 CitationsSource
#1L. Ozella (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 5
#2Laura Anfossi (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 26
Last. Daniela Pessani (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 11
view all 4 authors...
Abstract A number of potential stressors are present in captive environments and it is critically important to identify them in order to improve health and welfare in ex situ animal populations. In this study, we investigated the adrenocortical activity of a colony of African penguins hosted in an immersive zoo in Italy, with respect to the presence of visitors and local microclimatic conditions, using the non-invasive method of assessing faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGMs). The penguins’ e...
6 CitationsSource
Abstract Small mammals generally use short day length to elevate immune function to counteract the immunosuppressive effect of low temperature in winter in light of the winter immunoenhancement hypothesis. In the present study, we tested this hypothesis in striped hamsters ( Cricetulus barabensis ). We expected that immune responses would be increased by short photoperiod but suppressed by low temperature. Thirty-four adult female hamsters were randomly divided into the long day (16 L:8D) and sh...
5 CitationsSource
#1Graham H. Sorenson (U of W: University of Windsor)H-Index: 1
#2Cody J. Dey (U of W: University of Windsor)H-Index: 9
Last. Oliver P. Love (U of W: University of Windsor)H-Index: 26
view all 4 authors...
Many ecosystems have experienced anthropogenically induced changes in biodiversity, yet predicting these patterns has been difficult. Recently, individual behavioural and physiological measures have been proposed as more rapid links between environmental variation and fitness compared to demographics. Glucocorticoid hormones have received much attention given that they mediate energetic demands, metabolism, and foraging behaviour. However, it is currently unclear whether glucocorticoids can reli...
14 CitationsSource
Cited By7
#1M. Paul Atwood (Idaho Department of Fish and Game)H-Index: 1
#2John G. Kie (ISU: Idaho State University)H-Index: 39
Last. R. Terry Bowyer (UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks)H-Index: 44
view all 5 authors...
We assessed body condition, diet quality (indexed by fecal nitrogen), and stress levels (using fecal glucocorticoid metabolites) in mule deer Odocoileus hemionus in southeastern Idaho, USA, during a mild (2007) and a harsh winter (2008) to evaluate spatial overlap and potential competition with North American elk Cervus elaphus. We used data from GPS telemetry to construct spatially explicit maps of local population density of elk for January–April. Loss of body condition over winter in yearling...
#1George A. Brusch (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 5
#2Dale F. DeNardo (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 28
Last. Olivier Lourdais (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 23
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Plasma corticosterone (CORT) concentrations fluctuate in response to homeostatic demands. CORT is widely recognized as an important hormone related to energy balance. However, far less attention has been given to the potential role of CORT in regulating salt and water balance or responding to osmotic imbalances. We examined the effects of reproductive and hydric states on CORT levels in breeding Children’s pythons (Antaresia childreni), a species with substantial energetic and hydric co...
#1Jennifer J. Uehling (Cornell University)H-Index: 1
#2Conor C. Taff (Cornell University)H-Index: 13
Last. Maren N. Vitousek (Cornell University)H-Index: 16
view all 4 authors...
Early-life conditions can have substantial effects on the ways animals respond to stressors as adults. In particular, thermal conditions during development affect juveniles' responses to stressors, and there is evidence that these effects may extend into adulthood. However, these effects remain poorly understood, especially in free-living organisms. We test the prediction that ambient temperatures during laying, embryonic development and nestling development affect the hormonal mediators of the ...
#1Ondi L. Crino (Deakin University)H-Index: 12
#2Stephanie C. Driscoll (Macquarie University)H-Index: 3
Last. Simon C. Griffith (UNSW: University of New South Wales)H-Index: 44
view all 5 authors...
Abstract Animals time reproductive events to overlap with periods of favorable environmental conditions. However, weather conditions can be unpredictable. Young animals may be particularly susceptible to extreme weather during sensitive developmental periods. Here, we investigated the effects of adverse weather conditions on corticosterone levels (a hormone linked to the avian stress response) and body condition of wild nestling zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). We sought to tease apart the d...
#1Edward Jitik Narayan (University of Western Sydney)H-Index: 19
#2Zachery R. Forsburg (Texas State University)H-Index: 2
Last. Caitlin R. Gabor (Texas State University)H-Index: 19
view all 4 authors...
Global climate change is negatively impacting global biodiversity and ectothermic vertebrates, with amphibians being the most imperiled vertebrate taxa. Increased mean global atmospheric temperatures, high rates of habitat degradation, and exposure to infectious diseases, such as chytridiomycosis, have contributed to population declines and extinctions of rare and endangered amphibian species. Field-based monitoring of physiological endocrine traits can help determine the sub-lethal effects of e...
#1M. Lipowska (Jagiellonian University)H-Index: 3
#2Edyta T. Sadowska (Jagiellonian University)H-Index: 11
Last. Paweł Koteja (Jagiellonian University)H-Index: 24
view all 4 authors...
The locomotor performance achieved in a challenging situation depends not only on physiological limitations, such as the aerobic exercise capacity, but also on behavioral characteristics, such as adequate stress coping. The stress response is mediated largely by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, through modulated release of glucocorticoids. We used a unique experimental evolution model system to test a hypothesis that evolution of an increased aerobic exercise performance can be fac...
view all 3 authors...
#1Frank Seebacher (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 36
#2Jens Krause (HSU: Humboldt State University)H-Index: 64
Many animals occur in groups, and the ecology and evolution of populations and species are intrinsically linked to group function and social behaviour. Here we summarise recent data showing that the biotic and abiotic environments can have far-reaching consequences for social behaviour via epigenetic mechanisms that modify physiological processes. The environment affects the physiology of individuals via epigenetic mechanisms and individual physiology influences conspecific interactions. At a hi...
#1Eluned C. Price (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 5
#2Robert C. Coleman (University of Chester)H-Index: 9
Last. Dominic Wormell (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)H-Index: 2
view all 7 authors...
#1Sarah Guindre-Parker (UM: University of Michigan)H-Index: 1
#2Andrew G. McAdam (U of G: University of Guelph)H-Index: 29
Last. Ben Dantzer (UM: University of Michigan)H-Index: 17
view all 8 authors...
ABSTRACT Phenotypic plasticity—one individual’s capacity for phenotypic variation under different environments—is critical for organisms facing fluctuating conditions within their lifetime. North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) experience drastic among-year fluctuations in conspecific density. This shapes juvenile competition over vacant territories and overwinter survival. To help young cope with competition at high densities, mothers can increase offspring growth rates via a g...
1 CitationsSource