The health of many Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is adversely affected by exposure to blooms of the toxic dinoflagellate, Karenia brevis. K. brevis blooms are common in manatee habitats of Florida's southwestern coast and produce a group of cyclic polyether toxins collectively referred to as red tide toxins, or brevetoxins. Although a large number of manatees exposed to significant levels of red tide toxins die, several manatees are rescued from sublethal exposure and are successfully treated and returned to the wild. Sublethal brevetoxin exposure may potentially impact the manatee immune system. Lymphocyte proliferative responses and a suite of immune function parameters in the plasma were used to evaluate effects of brevetoxin exposure on health of manatees rescued from natural exposure to red tide toxins in their habitat. Blood samples were collected from rescued manatees at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL and from healthy, unexposed manatees in Crystal River, FL. Peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) isolated from whole blood were stimulated with T-cell mitogens, ConA and PHA. A suite of plasma parameters, including plasma protein electrophoresis profiles, lysozyme activity, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and reactive oxygen/nitrogen (ROS/RNS) species, was also used to assess manatee health. Significant decreases (p<0.05) in lymphocyte proliferation were observed in ConA and PHA stimulated lymphocytes from rescued animals compared to non-exposed animals. Significant correlations were observed between oxidative stress markers (SOD, ROS/RNS) and plasma brevetoxin concentrations. Sublethal exposure to brevetoxins in the wild impacts some immune function components, and thus, overall health, in the Florida manatee.
|Title||Sublethal red tide toxin exposure in free-ranging manatees (Trichechus manatus) affects the immune system through reduced lymphocyte proliferation responses, inflammation, and oxidative stress|
|Authors||C.J. Walsh, M. Butawan, J. Yordy, R. Ball, M. de Witt, Robert K. Bonde|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Aquatic Toxicology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wetland and Aquatic Research Center|