Assessment of immunotoxicology in wild populations: Review and recommendations

Journal Article

A heightened recognition of the immunotoxicity of many xenobiotics has sparked increased interest in studying immune system effects in wildlife. Immunotoxicological endpoints have been directly informative in assessing the health of wildlife populations themselves, and wildlife could also potentially be used as indicators of human and ecosystem health. However, the lack of standard methods and information regarding normal ranges of immune system parameters makes field assessments of wildlife immunological status difficult. Compounding this difficulty is the unfamiliarity of most wildlife toxicologists with the complex immune system and the wide array of methods available to study immunotoxicity. This restricts the number of studies carried out and further limits the growth of a wildlife immunological database. The purpose of this review is to facilitate the study of immunological endpoints by wildlife toxicologists by presenting 1) an overview of immunotoxicology from a biomedical perspective with an emphasis on the fundamentals of the immune system and the tools/assays available for measuring its function; 2) a limited review of applied immunotoxicity studies in wild fish, birds, and mammals; and 3) recommendations for expanding immunological assessments in wildlife.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Keller, JM; Meyer, JN; Mattie, M; Augspurger, T; Rau, M; Dong, J; Levin, ED

Published Date

  • December 1, 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 3 / 1-4

Start / End Page

  • 167 - 212

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1382-6980

Citation Source

  • Scopus