We studied the immune response of wild House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) experimentally challenged with different doses of inactivated Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccine. We evaluated within-individual cell-mediated and humoral responses in birds kept in outdoor aviaries, over a 6-wk period. Nonbreeding adult House Sparrows developed a significant humoral response to NDV experimental vaccination within 1 wk postchallenge, as measured by hemagglutination inhibition assay; values increased until week 4 and persisted until week 6. Differences among treatments appeared by week 1, with individuals challenged with the highest dose (0.2 mL) eliciting a higher humoral response than the rest (n = 18). By week 4, all individuals vaccinated displayed an increased humoral response, with individuals challenged with the highest dose remaining significantly above responses of individuals vaccinated with the middle dose (0.1 mL, n = 14), but not the lowest dose (0.05 mL, n = 15). The middle and lowest dose responded similarly and significantly different from controls (n = 23). Differences persisted through week 6 postchallenge. Cell-mediated responses were independent of the experimental treatment. All individuals experienced a rise in granulocyte concentration, whereas lymphocyte and monocyte concentrations decreased, most likely as a result of captivity. Adult wild House Sparrows immunochallenged with inactivated NDV vaccine developed a specific humoral response, highlighting the utility of this technique in immunologic and evolutionary ecology studies in wild birds.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4