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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 574867, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/574867
Research Article

The Effects of Environment and Physiological Cyclicity on the Immune System of Viperinae

1Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Manastur street 3-5, 400374 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
2Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, 10315 Berlin, Germany

Received 1 November 2011; Accepted 30 November 2011

Academic Editor: Udo S. Gaipl

Copyright © 2012 Lorand Kobolkuti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

One of the important aspects of species’ survival is connected with global climate changes, which also conditions the epidemiology of infectious diseases. Poikilotherms are exposed, as other species, to climatic influence, especially due to their physiological peculiarities such as important stages of their life cycle: hibernation, shedding, and active phase. The immune system serves as an accurate indicator of the health status and stress levels in these species. This study aimed to monitor the changes of innate (leukocyte subpopulations and total immune globulins) and adaptive immunity (in vitro leukocyte blast transformation) of two viper species, V. berus berus and V. ammodytes ammodytes, endemic in Europe and spread in different regions of Romania during their three major life cycles, hibernation, shedding, and active phase. The results indicated that seasonal variance and cycle rather than species and regional distribution influence the functionality of the immune system.