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Assignment Questions

Essay on Cell Biology

The plan of inquiry I have designed to investigate a phenomenon in my field is the following:

The Immunotoxic Effect of a mixture of Atrazine and Isoxaflutole
Emily D. Heston¹, Kathleen Brundage²; ¹Mountain State University, ²Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Cell Biology, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University; ¹,²The West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

Herbicides are used throughout the world to control the growth of weeds. Runoff from the crops as well as waste water from manufacturing facilities can contaminate the ground water. Atrazine is one of the most heavily used herbicides in U.S. agriculture and is used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds. It has been demonstrated to alter cell-mediated immune functions and decrease disease resistance. The EPA has set enforceable maximum contaminant levels on herbicides such as atrazine to insure safe drinking water. However, in many cases the level of atrazine and its metabolites exceed these levels. To reduce the amount of atrazine applied annually to crops, isoxaflutole is being mixed with atrazine. Isoxaflutole is a relatively new herbicide with no published studies on how it affects the immune system. During an immune response T cells augment antibody production by B cells and cytotoxic T cell killing. Due to the T cells important role in the immune response, alterations in their normal function will adversely affect the immune systems ability to respond to foreign pathogens. Our hypothesis is that when applied as a mixture, atrazine and isoxaflutole alter Interleukin-2 (IL2) secretion by Jurkats differently than when applied individually. In this experiment we stimulated Jurkat cells in the presence of 5-200 µM doses of atrazine, isoxaflutole, or a 1:1 mixture of both. The supernatants were harvested 24 hours later and IL2 levels were analyzed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We also measured intracellular IL2 levels by flow cytometry. Our data demonstrates that isoxaflutole (5–200 µM) alone does not inhibit IL2 production to the same degree as atrazine. A high dose of atrazine (50–200 µM) alone inhibits IL2 production by more than 65%. Low doses of atrazine (5-25 µM) alone had no effect on IL2 production. The 50:50 mixture inhibited IL-2 production to approximately the same level as 100 µM atrazine alone. The 100:100 mixture inhibited IL2 production to approximately the same level as 200 µM atrazine alone. Together this data indicates that the addition of isoxaflutole to atrazine results in an effect on IL2 production that is similar to twice as much atrazine. This research was supported in part by grant P20 RR16477 from the National Center for Research Resources awarded to the West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence.

Explaining this plan of inquiry is required in the paper as well as answering the following questions:

Does or does not the plan challenge the paradigm of prevailing belief in that field? Why or why not?
How are the functions of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation present in the plan?
What further explanations will the results suggest?

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