[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisi) and the eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunni) are currently at risk of serious population decline or extinction from fatal diseases in Tasmania, the goal of the present study was to describe the normal immune response of these species to challenge using the lymphocyte proliferation assay, to give a solid basis for further studies.
For this preliminary study, we performed lymphocyte proliferation assays on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the three species. We used the common mitogens phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), concanavalin A (ConA), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and pokeweed mitogen (PWM).
All three species recorded the highest stimulation index (SI) with the T-cell mitogens PHA and ConA. Tasmanian devils and bandicoots had greater responses than platypuses, although variability between individual animals was high.
For the first time, we report the normal cellular response of the platypus, the Tasmanian devil and the eastern barred bandicoot to a range of commonly used mitogens.
Australian Veterinary Journal 11/2008; 86(10):408-13. · 0.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Tasmanian devil (TD) (Sarcophilus harrisii) is under threat from devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), a cancer that is transmitted between devils by direct cell implantation. As no devil is known to have rejected the tumour allograft, an understanding of the immune status of this species is essential to help explain the unique infectious nature of this cancer. We analysed differential white blood cell counts, the phagocytic response of neutrophils as well as mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation. Devils analysed included healthy TDs kept in captivity, healthy devils from disease-free and diseased areas as well as diseased devils. Neutrophils isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy devils showed competent phagocytosis and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy and diseased devils proliferated in response to Con A, PHA and PWM stimulation. Although a wide range of responses was observed and relatively high doses of mitogens were required, there was no significant difference between males and females, adults and juveniles or between normal and diseased animals, suggesting that transmission of DFTD is not a consequence of a severely impaired immune system. As lymphocytes from all TDs appear to require strong stimulation for activation, this threshold may contribute to all devils being susceptible to DFTD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the mid 1990s an emerging disease characterised by the development of proliferative lesions around the face of Tasmanian
devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) was observed. A multi-disciplinary approach was adopted to define the condition. Histopathological and transmission electron
microscopic examination combined with immunohistochemistry help define Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) as a neoplastic
condition of cells of neuroendocrine origin. Cytogenetic analysis of neoplastic tissue revealed it to be markedly different
from normal devil tissue and having a consistent karyotype across all tumours examined. Combined with evidence for Major histocompatability
(MHC) gene analysis there is significant evidence to confirm the tumour is a transmissible neoplasm.