In recent years, many advances in the testing of the different facets of the immune system have resulted in a tremendous surge of knowledge. By utilizing this innovative testing, we can determine the factors that have an affect on certain immune parameters.1 Clinically, anything that might improve specific parts of the immune response in cetaceans would be very beneficial in their medical management. In human pilot studies, NatramuneTM(PDS-2865®) is a new product that has shown encouraging findings in improving lymphocyte activation and interleukin activity.2-3 NatramuneTM(PDS-2865®) is a natural hemicellulose and fatty acid proprietary mixture. Immune studies were tailored to complement studies previously performed in humans. Leukocyte phenotyping data focused on lymphocyte subpopulations, with emphasis on the cell-surface densities of two B cell differentiation antigens, CD19 and CD21. Peripheral blood leukocytes were analyzed for expression of immunological mediators, including interleukin-10 (IL-10; anti-inflammatory), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a; pro-inflammatory), and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox2; induced upon activation of macrophages and neutrophils).
This initial pilot study was conducted to use as a model for further testing. Five animals were administered the product at different times. These animals each have their own medical and/or physiological challenges.
Thirty-seven-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin lactating female with a history of squamous cell carcinoma.
Forty-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin with a history of kidney compromise and oral papilloma lesions.
Forty-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin with a history of liver degeneration and oral papilloma lesions.
Twenty-four year old male Pacific white sided dolphin with a barrage of recent minor medical issues and skin lesions.
Forty-year-old Orcinus orca.
The sixth control animal was a forty-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.
The first positive observation we have is the safety of the product. We did not note any side affects in this sensitive group of animals. With limited animals available we concluded that animals with preexisting medical conditions would be the best choice to include in the treatment group, as the healthy ones may not give a good indication of improvement. Based on the human pilot study, we had originally thought of taking the testing monthly for four months after the product was started. However, we have had some very interesting challenges to some of the animals. Behaviorally, they appeared to rebound quite nicely to these challenges. From this, we concluded that the dose extrapolated from the human studies appeared to be adequate. We have also observed a trend that suggests testing more intensely in the first 3-12 weeks after initiation of treatment. If funding were available, a minimum of two baselines would also be recommended. We feel we can now continue with more thorough research and that there is opportunity for animals to be included in the data-base if a protocol of administration and testing is followed. A long term goal is to study its affects in other species. With encouragement of the training staff, many of these animals will remain on the product and thus begin to provide some long-term data. Further evaluation to determine if NatramuneTM (PDS-2865®) supplementation enhances the immune system response in cetacean species will be pursued.
We would like to thank the training staff at Miami Seaquarium. We would also like to thank Dr. Michael Renner, Dr. Dave Stelling, and Jenny Rego for assisting with the samples.
1. Blanchard M, Stott J, Wong S, McBain J. 2006. Effects of beta glucan supplementation on immune responses in killer whales (Orcinus orca). IAAAM 2006 Proceedings: pp.172-173.
2. Chavoustie S, Perez P, Fletcher M, Maher , Mitrani a, Thomas R, Initial Clinical study on Natramune (PDS-2865) at The Clinical Immunology-University of Miami School of Medicine, 2002.
3. Chavoustie S, Perez P, Fletcher M, Maher K, Mitrani A, Thomas R. Pilot study: Effect of PDS-2865 on natural killer cell cytotoxicity. Journal on Nutraceuticals and Nutrition, Volume 6, No. 2: pp.39-42, 2003.