70.5 Saturday, Jan. 5 STRESS EFFECTS ON IMMUNE FUNCTION AND DISEASE EMERGENCE IN AMPHIBIANS WARNE, R. W.; KIRSCHMAN, L. J.*; CRESPI, E. J.; BRUNNER, J. L.; Southern Illinois University; Southern Illinois University; Washington State University; Washington State University email@example.com
Environmentally induced stress is thought to be a key driver of emerging disease in wildlife populations, however, the mechanistic links between stress, vertebrate immune function and epidemic outbreaks are not well tested. The physiological stress response regulated by the hypothalamus-pituitary-interrenal (HPI) axis and the expression of glucocorticoid hormones is likely central to disease dynamics. While chronic stress and activation of the HPI axis is often immunosuppressive, acute stress can have a positive effect on immune function by stimulating the inflammatory response and lymphocyte production. In this experiment, we tested the effects of experimentally induced physiological stress on the immune response and susceptibility of wood frog larvae (Lithobates [Rana] sylvaticus) to Ranavirus. Ranavirus (family Iridoviridae) are directly transmitted, often lethal viruses of ectothermic vertebrates that cause mass die-offs and may contribute to the risk of extinction in amphibians throughout the United States and the globe. Through experimental acute or chronic exposure to exogenous corticosterone and immunohistochemistry staining for splenocyte proliferation we explore the effects of stress on amphibian immune responses, susceptibility and survival to ranavirus infection.