Evaluation of immune functions in captive immature loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)

Estelle Rousselet, Milton Levin, Erika Gebhard, Benjamin M. Higgins, Sylvain DeGuise, Céline A.J. Godard-Codding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sea turtles face numerous environmental challenges, such as exposure to chemical pollution and biotoxins, which may contribute to immune system impairment, resulting in increased disease susceptibility. Therefore, a more thorough assessment of the host's immune response and its susceptibility is needed for these threatened and endangered animals. In this study, the innate and acquired immune functions of sixty-five clinically healthy, immature, captive loggerhead sea turtles (. Caretta caretta) were assayed using non-lethal blood sample collection. Functional immune assays were developed and/or optimized for this species, including mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation, natural killer (NK) cell activity, phagocytosis, and respiratory burst. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and phagocytes were isolated by density gradient centrifugation on Ficoll-Paque and discontinuous Percoll gradients, respectively. The T lymphocyte mitogens ConA significantly induced lymphocyte proliferation at 1 and 2. μg/mL while PHA significantly induced lymphocyte proliferation at 5 and 10. μg/mL. The B lymphocyte mitogen LPS significantly induced proliferation at 1. μg/mL. Monocytes demonstrated higher phagocytic activity than eosinophils. In addition, monocytes exhibited respiratory burst. Natural killer cell activity was higher against YAC-1 than K-562 target cells. These optimized assays may help to evaluate the integrity of loggerhead sea turtle's immune system upon exposure to environmental contaminants, as well as part of a comprehensive health assessment and monitoring program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Volume156
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Caretta caretta
  • Lymphocyte proliferation
  • Mitogen
  • Natural killer
  • Phagocytosis
  • Respiratory burst
  • Sea turtle

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