Millikin University, Decatur, IL 62522, USA. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imidacloprid (IMD), a neonicotinoid, is generally considered to be of low toxicity in vertebrates. However, the inhibition of acetylcholine (ACh) receptors can have a profound effect on both the immune and nervous system due to the anti-inflammatory effects of ACh. Vertebrates, such as amphibians, might be affected by IMD because they breed in wetlands where the concentration of IMD is high. In our study, we experimentally exposed Rana catesbeiana tadpoles to environmentally relevant IMD and then quantified the ACh and antibody to non-replicating antigens. We hypothesized that IMD exposure would result in higher AChE and antibody levels. We completed a factorial experiment in which tadpoles were divided into four groups, two of which were exposed to 100 ng/L of IMD. After five weeks, two groups were injected with the novel antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) and two injected with a control. Three weeks later, tadpoles were euthanized and blood samples collected. At 100 ng/L, IMD exposure did not cause a significant difference in AChE levels or KLH-specific IgYantibodies. However, tadpoles injected with KLH had slightly higher levels of AChE. In addition, we saw a trend in total IgM with higher levels in tadpoles exposed to IMD. While we found no effect of IMD at 100 ng/L on antibody response to a novel, non-replicating antigen nor on ACh production, further research is needed to determine if higher concentrations of IMD or parasite infection can influence development of R. catesbeiana.