Neuroendocrine-immune system interactions in amphibians: implications for understanding global amphibian declines.


Amphibians are ancient creatures valued by biologists and naturalists around the world. They share with all other vertebrates a complex neuroendocrine system that enables them to flourish in a variety of aquatic and semiaquatic environments. Studies from a number of laboratories have demonstrated that the immune system of amphibian species is nearly as complex as that of mammals. Yet for reasons that are not well understood, amphibian species are facing greater survival challenges than in the recent past. This article will review our current understanding of the neuroendocrine immune system interactions in amphibians and address the question of whether environmental stressors may contribute to immunosuppression and amphibian declines.