Abstract: Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are top-level marine predators and represent a sentinel species for ocean health. The study of cytokines and immunocellular function are important components for assessing the overall health status of wild dolphins. Recent studies have generated an increased number of identified cytokine molecules in T. truncatus, which will help in furthering health assessment in this species as they can be used in vitro to determine how pollutants or environmental stressors can influence plasma cytokine expression profiles, cell proliferation, and cytokine gene expression in tissues. Additionally, identification of T. truncatus immune modulators is important as the use of nonspecies-specific cytokines in some assays could lead to ambiguous results. Herein, the authors review some of the recent findings regarding T. truncatus cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-8, interferon gamma (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and indicate the possible use of Granulocyte Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) for in vitro qualitative and quantitative production of macrophage granulocyte lineages in bottlenose dolphins. Finally, the authors underline the importance of cytokine biological activity to obtain an accurate evaluation of the bottlenose dolphin immuno-physiological status in relation to environmental contamination.

Key Words: cytokines, bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, marine mammal, immune function

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.34.1.2008.93

Page Numbers: 93-101

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