Dr. Irene Salinas' Research On Immune Efficiency In Lungfish


Posted: Sep 17, 2015 - 12:00pm

Assistant Professor Irene Salinas examines a research sample.

Defense systems against pathogens are a critical life-support system of fish that helps protect against infection. A complex network of immune cells and molecules that are located at the interface between the environment and the host, the mucosal immune system of vertebrates, such as fish, is the first line of defense against life-threatening pathogens.

Among vertebrates, fish are renown for being chief producers of massive amounts of mucus that protect every part of their body against infection. Vertebrate’s immune systems in fish are constantly evolving in order to best protect each species against the pathogens they are likely to encounter in their various environments.

One of the most remarkable innovations of the vertebrate adaptive immune system is the progressive organization of the lymphoid tissues that reaches the highest level of complexity in birds and mammals. Examples include our tonsils and lymph nodes, where increased efficiency of immune surveillance and cell interactions occurs which, in turn, aids in the elimination of bacteria or viruses.

In a new research paper titled, “African lungfish reveal the evolutionary origins of organized mucosal lymphoid tissue in vertebrates,” and published in Current Biology, scientists at the University of New Mexico detail groundbreaking research that reveals the forerunners of structures such as tonsils and Peyer’s Patches already appeared in the closest group of all tetrapods, the African lungfish (Protopterus dolloi and Protopterus annectens).

Read full story at UNM Newsroom.