Biomarkers of immunotoxicity in fish and other non-mammalian sentinel species: predictive value for mammals?


PubMedID: 9769111

Zelikoff JT. Biomarkers of immunotoxicity in fish and other non-mammalian sentinel species: predictive value for mammals?. Toxicology. 1998;129(1):63-71.
Through the efforts of different laboratories, a battery of immunological assays is available to predict the immunotoxicity of xenobiotics. These assays, originally developed in rodents, have been adapted for use in a variety of animal species and are now used routinely in these models to assess the immunotoxicity of different chemical classes. For example, our laboratory has employed assays that measure antibody-forming cell response to T-dependent antigens, T- and B-cell lymphoproliferation, macrophage function, and host resistance against infectious bacteria to assess metal-induced immunotoxicity in laboratory-reared Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes); immunologically-related assays measuring antioxidant activity have also been used in this capacity. Results of the aforementioned investigations have shown the usefulness of these endpoints to reliably demonstrate chemical-mediated immunotoxicity in teleost systems. Many of these same endpoints have also proved successful for predicting the immunotoxic effects of contaminated aquatic environments in feral fish populations. For example, smallmouth bass collected from a chlorinated hydrocarbon-contaminated site demonstrated significant changes in blood cell profiles and kidney phagocyte function compared to fish collected from a 'clean water' reference site. Some of these same immune parameters have also been used successfully to predict the immunotoxicity of polluted aquatic environments in feral populations of fish-eating birds and harbor seals. While interspecies extrapolation is difficult and should be approached with caution due to variables such as metabolism and pharmacokinetics, results from these studies demonstrate the usefulness of these immune assays to predict the immunomodulating effects of xenobiotics in fish and other wildlife species, as well as the applicability of fish to serve as additional/alternate animal models for mammalian species in immunotoxicological studies.