Immune defense of wild-caught Norway rats is characterized by increased levels of basal activity but reduced capability to respond to further immune stimulation.
Popov Aleksandrov, Aleksandra
© 2017 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
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Studies of wild animals' immunity often use comparison with laboratory-raised individuals. Using such an approach, various data were obtained concerning wild Norway rat's immunity. Lower or higher potential of immune system cells to respond to activation stimuli were shown, because of analysis of disparate parameters and/ or small number of analyzed individuals. Inconsistent differences between laboratory and wild rats were shown too, owing to great response variability in wild rats. We hypothesized that wild rats will express more intense immune activity compared to their laboratory counterparts which live in a less demanding environment. To test this, we analyzed the circulating levels of inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6), a mediator which has a central role in host immune defense. In addition, we examined the activity of the central immune organ, the spleen, including cell proliferation and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-17 (IL-17), which are major effectors of cellular adaptive immune response. In order to obtain reasonable insight into the immunity of wild Norway rats, analysis was conducted on a much larger number of individuals compared to other studies. Higher levels of plasma IL-6, higher spleen mass, cellularity and basal IFN-γ production concomitantly with lower basal production of anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) revealed more intense immune activity in the wild compared to laboratory rats. However, lower responsiveness of their spleen cells' proinflammatory cytokine production to concanavalin A (ConA) stimulation, along with preserved capacity of IL-10 response, might be perceived as an indication of wild rats' reduced capability to cope with incoming environmental stimuli, but also as a means to limit tissue damage.
Keywords:Circulating interleukin-6 levels; Spleen cell cytokine production; Spleen cell proliferation
Source:Integrative Zoology, 2018, 13, 2, 180-193
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