Veterinary research with marine mammals in Brazil is infrequent, but recent studies indicated that the main factors contributing to the demise of these animals are multifactorial and may include infectious, parasitic, traumatic, metabolic and nutritional diseases.1,2 Among these, there is an increased incidence of respiratory disease.2 Understanding the role of different inflammatory proteins and cytokines during disease could lead to better knowledge of the marine mammal immune system and its relation to pathologic process. The aim of the current study was to investigate pulmonary and splenic transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), lysozyme and S-100 protein immunoexpression associated with inflammatory respiratory disease in Franciscana dolphins, Pontoporia blainvillei. Fixed tissues from 14 dolphins were divided in two groups: animals with (G2; n=7) and without (G1; n=7) pulmonary disease. Fragments of lung and spleen were examined with histopathology, immunohistochemistry and quantitative morphometric analysis. Results showed no significant differences between the two groups for TGF-β and lysozyme. Notably, a marked increase of S-100 protein was detected in dolphins with inflammatory lung diseases. Further studies are necessary to better understand the role played by different cytokines during inflammatory processes in marine mammals.
We would like to thank the Fundação para Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP—Process # 07/56801-0) for financial support. José Luiz Catão-Dias is the recipient of a professorship by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq 301517-2006-1). This study was conducted by Patrícia Coutinho de Souza as partial fulfillment of the requirements for her master’s degree at the Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo.
1. Marigo, J. 2003. Patologia comparada das principais enfermidades parasitárias de mamíferos marinhos encontrados na costa sudeste e sul do Brasil. MSc Dissertation, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo.
2. Ruoppolo, V. 2003. Patologia comparada de cetáceos e pinípedes. MSc Dissertation, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo.