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Polar Bears Can Catch Colds, Too


Feb 13, 2024
Polar Bears Can Catch Colds, Too

Finding out the immune methods of endangered species can present essential info on the well being and persistence of untamed populations. Cytokines, that are hormones produced by immune cells, regulate inflammatory responses to an infection and might improve within the blood throughout illness as a lot as 1000 occasions regular concentrations. Nonetheless, measuring a single cytokine gives restricted info on how an animal’s immune system is functioning.

Searching for to higher perceive polar bear immune operate and well being, CREW scientists are using Luminex© multiplexing expertise to measure cytokine ranges in polar bear serum. Multiplexing revolutionizes this course of by permitting the measurement of a number of cytokines from a single pattern, conserving useful banked serum assets whereas offering a extra complete understanding of polar bear well being.

By funding from IMLS, CREW scientists have examined and efficiently measured eight cytokines in 450 polar bear blood samples (totaling 3600 knowledge factors!) to look at how environmental elements (equivalent to latitude or season) and particular person traits (equivalent to age, intercourse, or well being standing) have an effect on polar bear immune operate. Preliminary knowledge point out that polar bears with a historical past of well being points, equivalent to liver illness or most cancers, exhibit considerably elevated cytokine ranges which can equally function helpful indicators of sickness in wild populations.

Measuring immune operate throughout the lifetime of particular person polar bears will assist scientists determine patterns or developments and will finally assist inform choices relating to inhabitants administration and veterinary care whereas contributing to the broader understanding of their wild counterparts.

(This challenge was made attainable, partly, by the Institute of Museum and Library Companies grant #MA-249327- OMS-21.)

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