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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Immune-behavioral interactions are widespread throughout the animal kingdom. For example, decreased feeding after immune activation is common in animals. Work with insects suggests that changes in feeding behavior during an immune response (e.g., illness-induced anorexia) may be a behavioral method of biasing multifunctional physiological pathways toward immune function. Work on insects also suggests that stress hormones help to reconfigure the immune system in order to optimize its performance during the physiological shifts required for “flight-or-fight.” The effects of stress hormones on immune function appear maladaptive only when compared to what the animal could do under optimal conditions. Work with insects also cautions against overly simplistic interpretations of immune assay results. A comparative approach to psychoneuroimmunology will increase our understanding of the adaptive function of immune-behavioral interactions. Understanding why these connections exist is of both practical and theoretical importance.

Keywords: insect, invertebrate, stress, octopamine, illness-induced anorexia, sickness behavior, immune assay, immune system, behavior

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