(Assuming you are a small sub-Saharan weaver bird, and your illness was experimentally induced by a standardised immune activator and a perspiring field researcher).
The immune system has frequently been linked with oxidative damage and antioxidant protection. There's even a lovely meta-analysis from 2009, which concludes that immune responses can promote oxidative stress (although it is a noisy relationship). However, almost all studies to date have been done in captivity. I wanted to see if the relationship holds in the wild.
A fully-wild system and complete baseline measurements were the strengths of this study. And what were the results? My findings were the complete opposite of the above meta-analysis: immune-activation had no effect on oxidative damage or antioxidant protection (#1). This could be because wild birds have a range of compensatory mechanisms not feasible in captivity, that help them avoid oxidative damage (but presumably incur a cost elsewhere).
This was a challenging paper to write, as finding #1 was in contrast to previous studies in captivity, while finding #2 was an extension of an established laboratory finding, into a wild system. Ultimately, both captive and wild study animals have much to tell us about life-history trade-offs and physiological ageing, and I hope both fields can borrow from ideas one another frequently!
As promised in a previous post, and to help promote idea-borrowing, I decided to send this paper to PLOS one. You can find a full, free, open-access copy here.