Immune Suppression of Dolphins Associated with Lobomycosis Disease Provides New Insight for Marine Animal Health Managers
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science researchers, examining immune markers in wild dolphins from the Indian River Lagoon, FL diagnosed with lobomycosis during 2003-2005, compared to those without lobomycosis, found that diseased dolphins suffer from severe immunosuppression in their adaptive immunity responses.
Lobomycosis (lacaziosis) is a chronic granulomatous disease of the skin and subcutaneous tissue caused by a naturally occurring fungus that is believed to affect only dolphins and humans. Lobomycosis cases had multiple abnormalities in hematologic and immunologic parameters when compared to normal dolphins.
Additional studies are needed to further elucidate the features of the immune dysfunction reported here in the pathogenesis of dolphin lobomycosis and any environmental linkages. Results on lobomycosis and health outcomes in dolphins may also be informative for humans and stimulate further research to enhance understanding of the immunopathogenesis and agent-host interaction in this enigmatic disease.