[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crocodilians are important keystone species and indicators of environmental health. Much remains unknown, however, regarding utility of field-collected crocodilian blood samples for ecologic assessments. Field sampling sites are also often distant to analysis centers, necessitating development of new techniques and panels of assays that will yield environmentally-relevant data. Stability and viability of hematological and immunological indices have been of particular interest for linking ecosystem health to biomarkers in resident species. In this study, we investigated the effect of time at analysis post-blood sampling at 4 and 24 hr on a panel of potential biomarkers in alligator blood. Our results suggest alligator blood samples can be reliably evaluated for both hematologic and immunologic profile 24 hr after sampling.
Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry 01/2015; · 0.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogen has potent immunomodulatory effects on proinflammatory responses, which can be mediated by serine proteases. We now demonstrate that estrogen increased the extracellular expression and IL-12-induced activity of a critical member of serine protease family Granzyme A (GZMA), which has been shown to possess a novel inflammatory persona. The inhibition of serine protease activity with inhibitor 4-(2-aminoethyl) benzenesulfonyl fluoride hydrochloride (AEBSF) significantly diminished enhanced production of proinflammatory IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-1α, and GZMA activity even in the presence of a Th1-inducing cytokine, IL-12 from splenocytes from in vivo estrogen-treated mice. Inhibition of serine protease activity selectively promoted secretion of Th2-specific IL-4, nuclear pSTAT6A, STAT6A translocation and STAT6A DNA binding in IL-12-stimulated splenocytes from estrogen-treated mice. Inhibition with AEBSF reversed the downregulation of Th2 transcription factors, GATA3 and c-Maf in splenocytes from estrogen-exposed mice. Although serine protease inactivation enhanced the expression of Th2-polarizing factors, it did not reverse estrogen-modulated decrease of pSTAT5, a key factor in Th2 development. Collectively, data suggest that serine protease inactivity augments the skew towards a Th2-like profile while downregulating IL-12-induced proinflammatory Th1 biomolecules upon in vivo estrogen exposure, which implies serine proteases as potential regulators of inflammation. Thus, these studies may provide a potential mechanism underlying the immunomodulatory effect of estrogen and insight into new therapeutic strategies for proinflammatory and female-predominant autoimmune diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heavy metals have been implicated for their ability to increase antibiotic resistance in bacteria collected from polluted waters, independent of antibiotic exposure. Specific-pathogen-free Leghorn chickens were therefore given Pb acetate in the drinking water to expose the enteric bacteria to Pb and to determine if antibiotic resistance changed in these bacteria. Concentrations of Pb used were 0.0, 0.01, 0.1, 1.0, or 10.0 mM; birds given the highest 2 concentrations showed signs of moribundity and dehydration and were removed from the study. Vent culture samples were collected for bacterial cultures on d 0 before Pb exposure, d 7 and 14, and then birds were euthanized by CO2 gas for necropsy on d 14, at which time intestinal contents were also collected for bacterial cultures. Fecal swabs but not intestinal samples from Pb-exposed birds contained isolates that had significantly elevated antibiotic resistance. Some of the isolates contained bacteria that were resistant to up to 20 antibiotics. These results suggest the need for repeated studies in chickens infected with zoonotic pathogens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parabens, alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid, are widely used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, personal care products and as food additives to inhibit microbial growth and extend product shelf life. Consumers of these compounds are frequently exposed via the skin, lips, eyes, oral mucosa, nails, and hair. Parabens are estrogenic molecules but exert weaker activity than natural estrogens, which would imply a low risk. Consistent with this idea, a number of recent commission reports from different countries suggested that parabens pose a negligible endocrine-disrupting risk at the recommended doses. However, individuals are not routinely exposed to a single paraben, and most of the available paraben toxicity data, reviewed in these reports, are from single-exposure studies. Further, assessing the additive and cumulative risk of multiple paraben exposure from daily use of multiple cosmetic and/or personal care products is presently not possible based on current studies. In this review, current and recent studies of paraben exposure and public health policies as well as critical gaps in the knowledge are discussed and new research directions regarding multiple exposures and novel target cohorts are recommended.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part B 07/2013; 16(5):321-35. · 3.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) surface expression on antigen presenting cells (APCs) is associated with dysregulated immune homeostasis. Lead (Pb) is known to increase MHC-II surface expression on murine peritoneal macrophages ex vivo at concentrations exceeding 25 μM. Little data exist examining this effect at physiologically relevant concentrations. To address this deficit, we examined the effects of Pb on MHC-II surface expression, secondary T-cell activation markers (CD80, CD86, CD40), cell viability, cellular metabolic activity, and β-hexosaminidase activity in RAW 267.4 macrophage cell lines, with changes in cell ultrastructure evaluated by electron and confocal microscopy. Pb induced an increase in MHC-II, CD86, and lysosome-associated LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 surface mean expression during one doubling cycle (17 hr), which was mirrored by increased β-hexosaminidase activity. Although cell viability was unaffected, cellular metabolism was inhibited. Electron microscopy revealed evidence of lipid vacuolization, macroautophagy and myelin figure formation in cells cultured with either Pb or LPS. Confocal microscopy with antibodies against LC3B showed a punctate pattern consistent with the presence of mature autophagosomes. Collectively, these data suggest that 2.5-5.0 μM Pb increased MHC-II surface expression by inhibiting metabolic activity, inducing autophagy, and increasing MHC-II trafficking in a macrophage cell line.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Avian wildlife species commonly ingest lead (Pb) spent shot or bullet fragments as grit or mistakenly as food. In previous studies in our laboratory and others, the toxicity varied based on the diet as well as type and quantity of Pb ingested. In the current study, domestic pigeons were gavaged with 1, 2, or 3 Pb pellets and then followed with weekly radiographs and blood physiologic endpoints for 28 days. Pellet retention decreased by roughly 50 % per week as pellets were either absorbed or excreted, except for week 4 where pellet number no longer was diminished. Size of retained pellets visually decreased over retention time. Birds dosed with a single #9 pellet showed mean blood Pb levels over 80 times higher than those of the controls, verifying Pb pellet absorption from the gut. A single Pb pellet also reduced plasma δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity by over 80 % compared to controls, suggesting the potential for population injury in Pb pellet-exposed pigeons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stimulating the maternal immune system before or during pregnancy can dramatically improve morphologic outcome in mice that have been exposed to teratogens. For example, maternal immune stimulation in mice reduced craniofacial and palate defects, heart defects, digit and limb defects, tail malformations and neural tube defects caused by diverse teratogens that included chemical agents, hyperthermia, X-rays and diabetes mellitus. Several different procedures of immune stimulation were effective and included footpad injection with Freund's Complete Adjuvant, intraperitoneal (IP) injection with inert particles or attenuated Bacillus Calmette–Guerin, intrauterine injection with allogenic or xenogenic lymphocytes, or intravascular, intrauterine or IP injection with immunomodulatory cytokines. Limited information is available regarding mechanisms by which such immune stimulation reduces fetal dysmorphogenesis; however, cytokines of maternal origin have been suggested as effector molecules that act on the placenta or fetus to improve development. These collective data raise novel questions about the possibility of unrecognized maternal immune system regulatory activity in normal fetal development. This manuscript reviews the literature showing maternal immune protection against morphologic birth defects. Potential operating mechanisms are discussed, and the possibility is considered that a suppressed maternal immune system may negatively impact fetal development.
Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease. 06/2012; 3(03).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Birds that display grit ingestion behavior are potentially at risk of lead (Pb) poisoning from mistaken ingestion of spent Pb shot pellets. The majority of available studies designed to assess such risk have used unspent shot pellets rather than field-obtained spent shot, which is oxidized and otherwise changed by weathering. Available studies also often administered more or heavier shot pellets to a bird than it might be expected to ingest. The current study dosed northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) weighing 194.6 ± 23.1 g (female birds) and 199.3 ± 12.2 g (male birds) with one to three spent no. 9 Pb shot collected from a skeet range, with particular interest in the toxicity that may occur from ingestion of a single 2-mm, 50 mg shot. An 8 week post-dosing clinical observation period was employed, over which feed consumption, body weight, blood Pb levels, and a battery of blood physiological parameters were made. Weight loss occurred in the birds, including male birds dosed with one Pb pellet. Erythrocyte delta aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) levels were decreased for the duration of the study across exposures and to levels associated with injury in wild bird populations. Decreased ALAD was particularly severe in female birds dosed with one Pb pellet and was still 92 % decreased at 8 weeks after dosing. Together, these results suggest that inadvertent ingestion of a single no. 9 Pb shot pellet can adversely affect the health of northern bobwhite quail.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 05/2012; 63(3):421-8. · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ascorbic acid (AA) enhances innate immunity, alters gene expression and functions as a co-factor in specific enzyme reactions. Birds are unique in that they can synthesise ascorbic acid whereas humans and rodents lack this ability. Diagnostic tests that currently exist to measure ascorbic acid levels in birds are time-consuming and expensive. In the present study, a modified and improved reductionbased colorimetric assay was evaluated in turkeys, quail and chickens. The assay was rapid for quantifying ascorbic acid in plasma and tissue samples, and generated values consistent with those obtained using HPLC. Five breeds of heritage turkeys were studied, showing significant plasma AA differences among breeds and, within breeds, by sex. Quail displayed plasma AA levels similar to the corresponding values that were highest in turkeys, which again were significantly greater in males than females. Chicken plasma AA levels were comparable to the turkeys and quail. However, the spleens of chickens had AA levels more than 12-fold higher than plasma, which increased significantly with a 150 mg/kg AA feed supplement. These collective results show a broad utility for the modified AA assay, and demonstrate differences in birds by breed, sex and diet.
Avian biology research 10/2011; 4(3). · 0.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We recently observed an autoimmune profile in 24-week-old C57BL/6 mice that received a 2.5 or 5.0μg/kg mid-gestation dose of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) (Mustafa et al., 2008). The clinical signs were consistent with a lupus-like syndrome and included: increased autoantibody levels, renal IgG and C3 immune complex deposition with associated inflammation, and increased peripheral Vβ(+) T cells. No studies currently exist following the progression of such disease into middle or advanced ages, when human autoimmune diseases may manifest. Therefore in the present study, littermates of mice from the previous 24 week prenatal TCDD study were allowed to age to 48 weeks, considered early geriatric in mice. Similarities and differences in the disease profile based on age and sex were observed. Peripheral autoreactive Vβ(+) T cells were increased in both sexes at 48 weeks, in contrast to males only at 24 weeks. Activated T cells from 48-week-old prenatal TCDD females over-produced the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFN-γ while males over-produced IL-10, effects again not seen at 24 weeks. Splenic transitional-2 B cells (CD21(int)CD24(hi)) were increased in males while transitional-1 B cells (CD23(neg) CD1(neg)) were increased in females at 48 weeks. Autoantibodies to cardiolipin and CD138(+) spleen plasma cells were significantly increased in the aged males but not females. Anti-IgG and anti-C3 immune complex renal deposition were also significantly increased in the prenatal TCDD males but not females. These selective changes in the aged male mice may be noteworthy, in that the prevalence of SLE in humans shifts dramatically toward males with aging. The collective findings in aged mice suggest that prenatal TCDD permanently biases the postnatal immune response in C57BL/6 mice toward autoimmunity, and support a significant B cell component to the induced renal autoimmune disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two immunologically different mouse strains, C57BL/6 and SNF(1), were exposed to a mid-gestation dose of TCDD. The C57BL/6 mouse has a high-affinity aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and is sensitive to TCDD. The SNF(1) mouse has a low-affinity AhR but spontaneously develops autoimmune nephritis. Autoreactive Vβ(+)CD4(+)17a and Vβ(+)CD3(+) T cells were increased at 24-weeks-of-age in offspring of C57BL/6 mice, more so in females than males. The cytokine IFN-γ was elevated in the females, while IL-10 was elevated in males. Phenotypic changes in B-lineage cells were present in bone marrow and spleen, and circulating autoantibodies were increased after prenatal TCDD. Kidneys of males showed significant anti-IgG and anti-C3 deposition, suggesting early-stage autoimmune disease. The SNF(1) offspring similarly showed increased peripheral Vβ(+) cells in the females, increased autoantibody production in both sexes, and increased IFN-γ production in females. Male SNF(1) mice had increased anti-IgG and anti-C3 deposition in kidneys. Both mouse models therefore showed clear signatures of enhanced autoimmunity after prenatal TCDD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lead (Pb) is a worldwide environmental contaminant known to adversely affect multiple organ systems in both mammalian and avian species. In birds, a common route of exposure is via oral ingestion of lead particles. Data are currently lacking for the retention and clearance of Pb bullet fragments in gastrointestinal (GI) tract of birds while linking toxicity with blood Pb levels. In the present study, northern bobwhite quail fed a seed-based diet were orally gavaged with Pb bullet fragments (zero, one or five fragments/bird) and evaluated for rate of fragment clearance, and changes in peripheral blood, renal, immune, and gastrointestinal parameters. Based on radiographs, the majority of the birds cleared or absorbed the fragments by seven days, with the exception of one five-fragment bird which took between 7 and 14 days. Blood Pb levels were higher in males than females, which may be related to egg production in females. In males but not females, feed consumption, body weight gain, packed cell volume (PCV), plasma protein concentration, and δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (δ-ALAD) activity were all adversely affected by five Pb fragments. Birds of both sexes that received a single Pb fragment displayed depressed δ-ALAD, suggesting altered hematologic function, while all birds dosed with five bullet fragments exhibited greater morbidity.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 03/2011; 61(4):668-76. · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prenatal exposure to the persistent environmental pollutant and model Ah receptor agonist, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), has been shown to permanently suppress postnatal cell-mediated immunity. More recently, skewing of select adult T and B cell responses toward enhanced inflammation has also been described in C57BL/6 mice after prenatal TCDD. This raises questions about adverse postnatal immune consequences of prenatal TCDD in animals genetically predisposed to inappropriate inflammatory responses.
Lupus-prone SNF(1) mice were exposed to 0, 40, or 80 µg/kg TCDD on gestation day (gd) 12 and examined at 36 weeks-of-age for immunomodulatory effects that correlated with worsened lupus pathology.
Bone marrow pro- and large pre-B cells were decreased by prenatal TCDD, in both adult male and female mice, as were pre- and immature B cells. Splenic CD23(-) CD1(hi) and CD19(+) CD5(+) B cells were increased in males, as were B220(hi) B cells in females, further suggesting persistent disruption of B cell lymphopoiesis by prenatal TCDD. Female mice displayed decreased IL-10 production by ConA-activated splenocytes, while males underproduced IL-4. Autoreactive CD4(+) Vβ17a(+) spleen T cells were increased in both sexes by 80 µg/kg TCDD. Male mice but not females showed increased anti-ds DNA and cardiolipin autoantibody levels.
Prenatal TCDD augmented the hallmark indicators of SLE progression in the lupus-prone SNF(1) mice, including renal immune complex deposition, glomerulonephritis, and mesangial proliferation. Prenatal TCDD therefore caused persistent modulation of the postnatal immune response, and exacerbated inflammatory disease, in lupus-like autoimmune SNF(1) mice.
Birth Defects Research Part B Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology 02/2011; 92(1):82-94. · 1.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Birds are exposed to Pb by oral ingestion of spent Pb shot as grit. A paucity of data exists for retention and clearance of these particles in the bird gastrointestinal tract. In the current study, northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) were orally gavaged with 1, 5, or 10 Pb shot pellets, of 2-mm diameter, and radiographically followed over time. Blood Pb levels and other measures of toxicity were collected, to correlate with pellet retention. Quail dosed with either 5 or 10 pellets exhibited morbidity between weeks 1 and 2 and were removed from further study. Most of the Pb pellets were absorbed or excreted within 14 d of gavage, independent of dose. Pellet size in the ventriculus decreased over time in radiographs, suggesting dissolution caused by the acidic pH. Birds dosed with one pellet showed mean blood Pb levels that exceeded 1,300 µg/dl at week 1, further supporting dissolution in the gastrointestinal tract. Limited signs of toxicity were seen in the one-pellet birds; however, plasma δ-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (d-ALAD) activity was persistently depressed, suggesting possible impaired hematological function.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 12/2010; 29(12):2869-74. · 2.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnant mice (n = 3) were exposed to BPA by intraperitoneal injection, from gestation day 9.5 until end of lactation. Male offspring were evaluated for cytokine production at 20 wk-of-age. One pregnant control mouse produced no males, precluding statistical analysis. However, recurring shifts in cytokines were suggested in the adult BPA offspring. Serum showed a numeric increase in 16 of 21 basal cytokine levels. ConA-stimulated splenocytes showed a numeric increase in 17 of 21 cytokines, and LPS-stimulated splenocytes an increase in 18 of 21 cytokines. The cytokine profile was one of T(H)1 up-regulation more than T(H)2, and with skewing toward T(H)17 responses.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 07/2010; 7(7):2845-52. · 1.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnancy may be complicated by maternal diabetes. The following experiments were performed in an attempt to produce mouse models of insulin-resistant maternal diabetes.
CD1 females received 200 mg/kg streptozocin (STZ) to model insulin-dependent diabetes (T1 group). Another group of females (T2 group) was put on a HFD 4 weeks before receiving 100 mg/kg STZ. After 4 additional weeks of HFD, hyperglycemic females were separated and bred. In another experiement, CD1 females were fed a HFD for 4 weeks before receiving an intravenous (GDM1 group) or intraperitoneal (GDM2 group) injection of 100 mg/kg STZ. Females from GDM2 group were bred at the same day of the STZ injection. Females from GDM1 group were bred 4 weeks after the STZ injection.
About 25% of the females from T2 group became hyperglycemic after 4 weeks of the injection of STZ. Fifty percent of the females from GDM1 group reached hyperglycemic levels greater than 250 mg/dl during pregnancy. The combination of HFD and moderate STZ in CD1 mice therefore produced hyperglycemic females; however numbers of these mice were somewhat low.
Endocrine Research 05/2010; 35(2):59-70. · 1.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) were exposed via soil and/or food (earthworms) to 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) and a PCB mixture (Aroclor 1260) at environmentally relevant concentrations. Four exposures were considered: (1) uncontaminated food + uncontaminated soil (control group); (2) contaminated soil + uncontaminated food (dermal group); (3) contaminated food + uncontaminated soil (oral group); and, (4) contaminated soil + contaminated food (dual-exposure group). The chemical exposure was estimated for each group by analysis of both soil and earthworms. Body burdens of TNT and its primary metabolites were highest in the dermal groups while PCB burdens were highest in the oral groups. Concentrations of the primary TNT metabolites evaluated, 2-amino-dinitrotoluene (DNT) and 4-amino-DNT, exceeded that of unmetabolized TNT and accumulated to 116 and 670 ng/g, respectively. These results provide evidence that dermal exposures to nitroaromatics in terrestrial salamanders may make an important contribution to total body burden and thus may be important when considering the health consequences of such exposures. Further, the demonstration of the accumulation of TNT and TNT metabolites in a primitive vertebrate may have food web modeling implications.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work in our laboratory showed reduced myocardium and dilated ventricular chambers in gestation day (GD) 17 hearts that were collected from hyperglycemic CD1 mouse dams. Pre-breeding maternal immune stimulation, using Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA), diminished the severity of these fetal heart lesions. The following experiments were performed to detect possible changes in fetal heart apoptotic cell death, under hyperglycemic conditions and with or without maternal immune stimulation.
Female CD1 mice were injected with 200 mg/kg of streptozocin (STZ) to induce insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Half of these mice received prior FCA injection. Fetal hearts were collected on GD 17 and myocardial apoptotic cells were quantified using flow cytometry. A panel of apoptosis regulatory genes (Bcl2, p53, Casp3, Casp9, PkCe) was then examined in the fetal myocardium using RT-PCR.
Early apoptotic cells and late apoptotic/necrotic cells were significantly increased in fetal hearts from STZ or STZ+FCA dams. Pre-treatment with FCA reduced late apoptotic/necrotic cells to control level, suggesting some cell death protection was rendered by FCA. Paradoxically in the face of such increased cell death, the expression of pro-apoptotic genes Casp3 and Casp9 was decreased by diabetes, while the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2 was increased.
Maternal hyperglycemia causes dys-regulated apoptosis of fetal myocardial cells. Such effect may be prevented by maternal immune stimulation.
Birth Defects Research Part B Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology 10/2009; 86(5):409-15. · 1.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Female SNF(1) hybrid mice spontaneously develop an immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis as early as 24 weeks of age, whereas the disease onset in males is much slower. Further, a rise in concentration of glomerulus-specific autoantibodies via autoreactive B cells is critical to progression of the disease in this strain. Environmental factors contributing to the onset or degree of such autoimmunity are of interest yet poorly understood. In the present study, time-pregnant SWR x NZB dams (10/treatment) were gavaged on gestational 12 with 40 or 80 mg/kg 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), and the SNF(1) offspring were evaluated at 24 weeks of age. Bone marrow B220(low)CD24(-)AA4.1(+) committed B lineage progenitors were increased in female offspring by TCDD, however, committed progenitors and pro-B cells were decreased in males. Splenic marginal zone B cells (CD21(hi)CD24(low-int)) were decreased and follicular B cells (CD21(int)CD24(low)) were increased across sex by prenatal TCDD, whereas transitional-2 B cells (CD21(int)CD24(hi)) and (CD23(low-int) CD1(low-int)) were decreased in males only. Antibodies to double-stranded DNA were significantly increased across sex by TCDD. Anti-IgG and anti-C3 immune complex renal deposition was visibly worsened in females, and present in TCDD-treated males. These data suggest that developmental exposure to TCDD permanently and differentially alters humoral immune function by sex, and exacerbates a type III hypersensitivity lupus-like autoimmune disease in genetically predisposed mice.