The well being of our ecosystem is at stake. Global warming seems to have casted an irreversible impact on the health of living organisms which is increasingly taking a toll on their immunity, besides affecting sex ratio, reproductive health, causing immunosuppression, genotoxic and immune system impairments. In due course, body loses the ability to combat microbes leading to abnormal mutations and cell replication.
In a nutshell, global warming and climate change challenges our immunocompetence and threatens resilience. The rapidly changing environment has lead to crumbling of natural habitats, accumulation of pathogens, foreign species and pollutants as well as stratospheric degradation through ozone depletion.
This happens to be an issue of major concern owing to the dynamic repercussions leading to degradation of nutrition reserves, toxic algae blooms as well as enhanced chances of disease transmission.
As a consequence, evolutionary pressure builds up on organisms who are unable to cope and counteract the overwhelming impact. Immune responses deteriorate with the failed performance of interactive network comprising cellular components, thus disabling the chance of detecting antigen. Failure of timely medical intervention that assures potential destructive mechanism results in degradation of immunity.
In order to maintain functionality of immune system, a series of complex hormonal as well as neuropeptide connections has to be regulated taking into cognizance the nervous and endocrine system simultaneously. But, on the eve of being faced with a stressful circumstance, a disruption from the normal course of life or a lingering discomfort, the system coordination and response suffers a setback. The entire scenario is not only detrimental to survival, but also encompasses relentless effect on immunocompetence, multiplying the possibilities of succumbing to a disease.
Although, the natural instinct of animals evoke responses against such conditions, formulating measures to mitigate negative impact- uncertain events caused due to global warming and climate change creates a wall against the natural protective shield.
Also termed as anthropogenic factors, environmental changes seem to have given rise to a range of infectious diseases that only seem to rise in near future. Some of them include, HIV, Ebola, antibiotic resisting tuberculosis, ranavirus or chytrodiomycosis in amphibians.
There are two potential causes that lead to immunosuppression- stress induced and pollutant induced. In the first case, adrenal hormones possessing anti inflammatory properties and responsible for proliferation of lymphocytes are affected by increased circulation of glucocorticoids that inhibits supply of cytokines, thus disrupts accurate cellular responses. Whereas, the second leads to multiple health hazards like breakage of DNA strands due to immunotoxic effects of organochlorines, polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy metals. In fact, the effect multiplies in case of aquatic mammals with large adipose reserves and longer life span. Different forms of cancer seem to affect the lives of organisms due to anthropogenic factors, altering genetic formations.
Droughts causing starvation results in dropping levels of vitamin and protein, leading to diminution of fat reserves, thus reduces nutrition absorption ability in the long run finally resulting in population drop and extinction.
Growing intensity of UV radiation in contemporary times are even known to cause damage to cellular structure and leading to skin cancer in the long run. Radiations also impact the growth and development in amphibians, increasing susceptibility to infection as empirical studies suggest.
The disoriented physiological processes also lead to destruction of adequate reproductive effort, increasing susceptibility to infection due to drop in immunity.
The above implications seem to affect our ecological balance in the worst of ways. The complex forms of penetrating deep and casting an imbalance in the physiological functioning in organisms will go a long way to destroy the natural immune system- the regulator and inhibitor of fatal diseases.