Increased biodiversity in the environment improves the humoral response of rats.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Previous studies have compared the immune systems of wild and of laboratory rodents in an effort to determine how laboratory rodents differ from their naturally occurring relatives. This comparison serves as an indicator of what sorts of changes might exist between modern humans living in Western culture compared to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. However, immunological experiments on wild-caught animals are difficult and potentially confounded by increased levels of stress in the captive animals. In this study, the humoral immune responses of laboratory rats in a traditional laboratory environment and in an environment with enriched biodiversity were examined following immunization with a panel of antigens. Biodiversity enrichment included colonization of the laboratory animals with helminths and co-housing the laboratory animals with wild-caught rats. Increased biodiversity did not apparently affect the IgE response to peanut antigens following immunization with those antigens. However, animals housed in the enriched biodiversity setting demonstrated an increased mean humoral response to T-independent and T-dependent antigens and increased levels of "natural" antibodies directed at a xenogeneic protein and at an autologous tissue extract that were not used as immunogens.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pi, C; Allott, EH; Ren, D; Poulton, S; Lee, SYR; Perkins, S; Everett, ML; Holzknecht, ZE; Lin, SS; Parker, W

Published Date

  • 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 10 / 4

Start / End Page

  • e0120255 -

PubMed ID

  • 25853852

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4390306

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0120255


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States