Phytohaemagglutanin (PHA) is a red kidney bean extract that has been used to stimulate an immunological T cell response in a variety of animals. This procedure has become very popular method to analyze an individual animal’s ability to trigger an immunological response.(Brown 2014) PHA skin testing has been used in a variety of avian, mice, lizard, and amphibian species where it is injected into the muscle, skin, or webbing of an animal and then recording the amount of swelling before and after the injection.(Smits 1999) We are using the amphibian Xenopus laevis to test 1) their immune reaction under normal conditions and 2) to test how stress effects their immune reaction. In our control non-stress experiment to discover if PHA actually causes swelling, we found that significant swelling occurs at all time points in comparison to the saline injected foot. In the stress versus non-stress PHA experiments, we found no significant variation between the stressed versus non-stress, but still a significant difference between PHA versus saline injection.
Kinney, Kevin, Skyler Majors, Madelyn Lee, Scott Espich, Erika Kischuk. "Measuring Immune Responsiveness in Xenopus laevis using Phytohaemagglutanin (PHA)." Poster presented at the 2014 Science Research Fellows Poster Session, Greencastle, IN, November 2014.