Title

Immunosuppression in the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) induced by pesticide exposure

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Publication Title

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Volume

22

Issue

1

First Page

101

Last Page

110

DOI

10.1002/etc.5620220113

Abstract

An injection study and a field study were used to investigate the hypothesis that environmental xenobiotics have the potential to alter the immune function of northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens). Three assays, IgM-specific antibody response to keyhole limpet hemocyanin linked to dinitrophenyl (KLH-DNP), zymozan induced chemiluminescence (CL) of whole blood and the delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), were used to assay humoral, innate and cell-mediated immune endpoints. Sublethal doses of DDT (923 ng/g wet wt), malathion (990 ng/g wet wt), and dieldrin (50 ng/g wet wt) were used in the injection study. In all pesticide-injected groups, antibody response was dramatically suppressed, DTH reactions were enhanced, and respiratory burst was lower. When the order of administration of pesticides and antigens was reversed, no differences in immune function between the control and dosed groups were apparent, indicating that frogs exposed to pathogens prior to pesticide exposure can still respond. A field study found significant differences in immune function between frog populations in pesticide-exposed and pesticide-free locations. The antibody response and CL were suppressed and the DTH enhanced in frogs from Essex County (ON, Canada). Overall, the results suggest that exposure to these pesticides can cause both stimulatory and suppressive immune changes in adult frogs and is doing so in wild populations.

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