Evidence of immunomodulation in nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) exposed to environmentally relevant PBDEs
We investigated whether exposure to environmentally relevant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) causes immunomodulation in captive nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Eggs within each clutch, divided by laying sequence, were injected with safflower oil or penta-BDE congeners-47, -99, -100, and -153 dissolved in safflower oil (18.7 μg ΣPBDEs/egg) approximating Great Lakes birds. For 29 days, nestlings consumed the same PBDE mixture (15.6±0.3 ng/g body weight per day), reaching ΣPBDE body burden concentrations that were 120× higher in the treatment birds (86.1±29.1 ng/g ww) than controls (0.73±0.5 ng/g ww). PBDE-exposed birds had a greater PHA response (T-cell-mediated immunity), which was negatively associated with increasing BDE-47 concentrations, but a reduced antibody-mediated response that was positively associated with increasing BDE-183 concentrations. There were also structural changes in the spleen (fewer germinal centers), bursa (reduced apoptosis) and thymus (increased macrophages), and negative associations between the spleen somatic index and ΣPBDEs, and the bursa somatic index and BDE-47. Immunomodulation from PBDE exposure may be exacerbated in wild birds experiencing greater environmental stresses.
Fernie, K. J.; Mayne, G.; Shutt, J. L.; Pekarik, C.; Grasman, K. A.; Letcher, R. J.; and Drouillard, Ken G., "Evidence of immunomodulation in nestling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) exposed to environmentally relevant PBDEs" (2005). Environmental Pollution, 138, 3, 486-494.