The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Biological Sciences - Cell and Molecular: M.S.




College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Marina Cetkovic-Cvrlje

Second Advisor

Satomi Kohno

Third Advisor

Heiko Schoenfuss

Fourth Advisor

Sarah Petitto

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

T cells, immunology, mRNA, fathead minnow, Contaminants of emerging concern


Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial, and agricultural byproducts, have a myriad of effects on aquatic organisms. Numerous endpoints were studied in fathead minnow, which is a native species in the Great Lakes tributaries, and a standard model for aquatic toxicology research. It is critical to investigate the effects of urban CECs on the adaptive immune system due to its importance as a defense system in vertebrates. However, there are rare investigations into the effects of CECs on the adaptive immune system of fathead minnows. Generally, T cells and their major subpopulations, T helper and T cytotoxic cells, are important cell types in the adaptive immune system. Zeta-chain associated protein kinase 70 (zap70), cluster of differentiation 4-1 (CD4-1), and eomesodermin homolog A (eomesa) are T cell-, T helper- and T cytotoxic-selective proteins, respectively. In order to study the effects of urban CECs exposure on the adaptive immune system, adult male fathead minnows were exposed to eight CECs commonly detected in surface waters of the Great Lakes tributaries, either singularly or in a mixture. After a 96-hour exposure to CECs, splenic mRNA abundance for zap70, CD4-1 and eomesawere analyzed using quantitative RT-PCR. Of the four compouds hypothesized to increase the abundance of T cell-specific mRNA in the spleens of fathead minnows, the exposures to desvenlafaxine, sulfamethoxazole, triclosan and urban mixture were found to cause an increase. Furthermore, fluoranthene and metformin, of the four hypothesized urban CEC exposures, induced a decrease in the abundance of T cell-specific mRNA. Further research is needed to evaluate the effects of chronic and multigenerational exposures on the T cells of fathead minnows.



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