Population differences in host immune factors may influence survival of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) during plague outbreaks

Joseph D. Busch, Roger van Andel, Jennifer Cordova, Rebecca E. Colman, Paul S Keim, Tonie E. Rocke, Jeff G. Leid, William E. van Pelt, David M Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Over the past 40 yr, epizootics of plague (Yersinia pestis) in northern Arizona have reduced populations of the Gunnison's prairie dog (Cynomys gunnisoni), with the exception of a large population found in the Aubrey Valley (AV). To examine potential mechanisms accounting for their survival, we collected prairie dog serum samples in 2005- 2006 from AV and a neighboring population near Seligman (SE), Arizona. We quantified gene expression at 58 diverse immune proteins using a multiplexed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay panel. We found a subset of proteins important in coagulation and inflammation (tissue factor [TF], calbindin [Cal], and thrombopoietin [TPO]) and T-cell responses (CD40L and CD40) that were present in AV at levels two to eight times greater than SE. These results suggest that AV and SE animals might differ in their ability to mount an immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-973
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • Aubrey valley
  • Cynomys gunnisoni
  • Cytokines
  • Plague immunity
  • Prairie dog
  • Yersinia pestis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

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