Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Durdik, Jeannine

Committee Member/Reader

Gray, Michelle

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ivey, Mack

Committee Member/Third Reader

Plavcan, Mike


Fever is an essential component of the immune response. Fever enhances immune responses as well as creates an environment in which the body has advantages over pathogens. Macrophages are often the first cells that come in contact with pathogens, as they reside in tissues. They are important for their engulfment of pathogens that results in the digestion of the pathogen, but they also produce nitric oxide and cytokines that contribute to immune response in a variety of ways, including initiating adaptive immunity and directing the production and activity of other immune cells. We were curious about macrophages from other temperature environments–including fish. The RTS11 cell line, derived from the spleen of rainbow trout, was utilized here for studies on the influence of fever temperature on its macrophage functions. During exposure to a variety of temperatures, macrophage metabolism and activity was measured using protein synthesis and production of nitric oxide. Even without stimulation, a temperature of 19°C alone can increase nitric oxide production and protein synthesis in RTS11 macrophages. Macrophage activity was stimulated using lipopolysaccharide, poly I:C, and peptidoglycan, mimics of or actual components found in viruses or bacteria known to stimulate macrophage activity in mammals, aves, and fish. Results from these experiments indicate that the effects of stimulations on nitric oxide production and protein synthesis depend on whether the stimulation has viral or bacterial origins, with viral stimulations raising nitric oxide production and protein synthesis consistently and bacterial stimulations causing more variable responses. These results indicate that moving to a warmer part of the stream initiating a behavioral fever temperature has a major effect on the activity of macrophages and therefore on the entire immune response.


immunology, fever, macrophages, rainbow trout, RTS11, immune response