Immune Characterization of Wild-Caught Rattus norvegicus Suggests Diversity of Immune Activity in Biome-Normal Environments
Author(s): Shu S. Lin, Zoie E. Holzknecht, Ashley M. Trama, Mary Lou Everett, Anitra D. Thomas, Kuei-Ying Su, Sean M. Lee, Sarah E. Perkins, John F. Whitesides, Patrice McDermott, and William Parker
Abstract Biome depletion, or loss of co-evolved constituents within the ecosystem of the human body, has become the leading suspect in epidemics of allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases associated with post-industrial culture. Immunity in wild and laboratory rats has been used as a model for immunity in biomenormal and biome depleted environments, respectively. In this study, the ranges of numerous immune parameters (such as cytokine production and cell surface marker expression) in 8 wild rats overlapped with the ranges found in 7 laboratory rats. However, considering a number of parameters simultaneously as an “expression index” revealed a substantially greater range of immune activity in the wild compared with laboratory rats. These findings are consistent with the intuitive idea that the immune system is inherently malleable or flexible within environments of evolutionary adaptedness, and might suggest that biome reconstitution as an effective therapy could be achieved in a variety of ways.