Pacific herring Clupea pallasi immunoglobulin is an IgM-like molecule comprised of heavy and light chains with molecular weights of 79 and 25 to 27 kD, respectively. Purified immunoglobulin was used to generate highly specific polyclonal antibodies for development of a sandwich ELISA. The ELISA was used to quantify total plasma IgM in 602 Pacific herring captured in Prince William Sound and Sitka Sound, Alaska, USA. Plasma IgM concentrations ranged from 0.13 to 5.32 mg ml-1. Using multiple stepwise regression analysis, plasma IgM was highly correlated (p
The southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population in California (USA) and the Alaskan sea otter (E. lutris kenyoni) population in the Aleutian Islands (USA) chain have recently declined. In order to evaluate disease as a contributing factor to the declines, health assessments of these two sea otter populations were conducted by evaluating hematologic and/or serum biochemical values and exposure to six marine and terrestrial pathogens using blood collected during ongoing studies from 1995 through 2000. Samples from 72 free-ranging Alaskan, 78 free-ranging southern, and (for pathogen exposure only) 41 debilitated southern sea otters in rehabilitation facilities were evaluated and compared to investigate regional differences. Serum chemistry and hematology values did not indicate a specific disease process as a cause for the declines. Statistically significant differences were found between free-ranging adult southern and Alaskan population mean serum levels of creatinine kinase, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, calcium, cholesterol, creatinine, glucose, phosphorous, total bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, and sodium. These were likely due to varying parasite loads, contaminant exposures, and physiologic or nutrition statuses. No free-ranging sea otters had signs of disease at capture, and prevalences of exposure to calicivirus, Brucella spp., and Leptospira spp. were low. The high prevalence (35%) of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in free-ranging southern sea otters, lack of antibodies to this parasite in Alaskan sea otters, and the pathogen's propensity to cause mortality in southern sea otters suggests that this parasite may be important to sea otter population dynamics in California but not in Alaska. The evidence for exposure to pathogens of public health importance (e.g., Leptospira spp., T. gondii) in the southern sea otter population, and the naïveté of both populations to other pathogens (e.g., morbillivirus and Coccidiodes immitis) may have important implications for their management and recovery.
Hollings Marine Laboratory, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, NOAA, 331 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston, SC 29412, USA; Jardon and Howard Technologies Incorporated, 2710 Discovery Drive, Orlando, FL 32826, USA. Electronic address: Jeanine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assessing the health of marine mammal sentinel species is crucial to understanding the impacts of environmental perturbations on marine ecosystems and human health. In Arctic regions, beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas, are upper level predators that may serve as a sentinel species, potentially forecasting impacts on human health. While gene expression profiling from blood transcriptomes has widely been used to assess health status and environmental exposures in human and veterinary medicine, its use in wildlife has been limited due to the lack of available genomes and baseline data. To this end we constructed the first beluga whale blood transcriptome de novo from samples collected during annual health assessments of the healthy Bristol Bay, AK stock during 2012-2014 to establish baseline information on the content and variation of the beluga whale blood transcriptome. The Trinity transcriptome assembly from beluga was comprised of 91,325 transcripts that represented a wide array of cellular functions and processes and was extremely similar in content to the blood transcriptome of another cetacean, the bottlenose dolphin. Expression of hemoglobin transcripts was much lower in beluga (25.6% of TPM, transcripts per million) than has been observed in many other mammals. A T12A amino acid substitution in the HBB sequence of beluga whales, but not bottlenose dolphins, was identified and may play a role in low temperature adaptation. The beluga blood transcriptome was extremely stable between sex and year, with no apparent clustering of samples by principle components analysis and
OBJECTIVE: To determine effects of protein intake on blood variables, plasma volume, and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in sled dogs undergoing rigorous training. ANIMALS: 32 Alaskan sled dogs, between 2 and 6 years old. PROCEDURE: Dogs were assigned to 1 of 4 groups on the basis of age, sex, and ability. Isocaloric diets containing 18% (diet A), 23% (diet B), 29% (diet C), or 35% (diet D) of energy as protein were assigned randomly to each group and fed 1 month before and during a 12-week training period. Maximal oxygen uptake was measured at 0 (before training) and 12 weeks. Body weight, protein and energy intake, plasma volume, PCV, hemoglobin concentration, and serum biochemical variables were measured at 0, 8, and 12 weeks. RESULTS: Serum biochemical variables, PCV, and hemoglobin concentration remained within reference ranges for all dogs. Dogs fed diet A had a decrease in VO2max and a greater rate of soft tissue injury throughout training, compared with dogs fed the other diets. At 12 weeks, dogs fed diets C and D had greater serum sodium concentration and hemoglobin concentration than did dogs fed diet A. Dogs fed diet D also had more plasma volume at 12 weeks than did dogs of any other group. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Consumption of a diet with 18% dietary protein on an energy basis (3.0 g of protein/kg of body weight) is insufficient to meet the metabolic requirements of sled dogs in training. For intense interval work, a diet with 35% dietary protein as energy (6.0 g of protein/kg) may provide a performance advantage by promoting an increase in plasma volume.
Long-distance racing is known to cause alterations in haematological and serum biochemical parameters in sled dogs. Given that finishing status reflects the physical condition in dogs completing a race, such variations will mainly be the result of physiological adaption achieved during endurance exercise. However, changes observed in withdrawn dogs may indicate pathological conditions. The aim of this study was to reveal changes in haematological and serum biochemical values in sled dogs participating in a long-distance race, with emphasis on the withdrawn dogs. Sixty-five sled dogs participated in a clinical prospective cohort study: 46 dogs competed in the 600 km race (25 finishing and 21 withdrawn dogs), and 19 dogs served as controls. Blood sampling was performed early in the training season and after the race.
When compared to control dogs, both withdrawn and finishing dogs showed significant increases in neutrophil count, C-reactive protein, blood urea nitrogen and sodium/potassium ratio. Significant decreases were found in erythrocytes and eosinophil cell count, and in haematocrit, haemoglobin, total protein, albumin, globulin, creatinine, potassium and calcium levels. Finishing dogs presented significant increases in white blood cells, large unstained cells, monocyte count and cortisol level compared to control dogs. In contrast, withdrawn dogs had significant elevations in alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase activity, as well as parameters associated with muscle metabolism, such as aspartate aminotransferase, creatine kinase and phosphorus concentration.
Competing sled dogs experienced minor changes in blood parameters in general, mainly revealing the same pattern among withdrawals and finishers. This might indicate that numerous changes simply reflect physiological adaption due to endurance exercise. However, the serum concentration of muscle enzymes was significantly increased only in the withdrawals, and were well above reference ranges. This reflects muscle degradation, which could be the main cause of performance failure in some of the withdrawals.
Hematologic, serum biochemistry, and serum cortisol reference ranges were established and tonsil/rectal bacterial and fecal parasite examinations were performed on 21 wild arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) cubs during July 1996. Several of the hematologic and serum biochemistry values fell within normal ranges for other wild canids or domestic dogs of the same age class. Serum alanine transaminase and creatine phosphokinase values were significantly higher in the youngest cubs. Proteus vulgaris and Escherichia coli were isolated from both tonsilar and rectal swabs of several cubs in all dens. The most common gastrointestinal parasite ova were Toxascaris leonina (59%), Isospora spp. (52%), Uncinaria stenocephala (33%), and Capillaria spp. (26%). Prevalence of T. leonina differed significantly between dens and between age groups. Hematologic and serum biochemistry values and degree of parasitism may be indicators of health, stress, and nutritional status of arctic foxes.
The western arctic population of King Eiders (Somateria spectabilis) has declined by >50% in recent years. A health assessment was conducted for adult King Eiders breeding on the north slope of Alaska, USA, to evaluate body condition (n=90, 2002-2006) and baseline biochemical and hematologic values (n=20-30, 2005-2006). Body condition for males and females was excellent. Total protein, calcium, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, and globulin were significantly higher in females than in males, likely because of differences in reproductive physiology. These baseline health data can be used to promote conservation of King Eiders and other closely related species of concern.
Baseline blood chemistry data could be particularly valuable if reference values from free-ranging populations of rare or endangered species are not available. The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the conterminous United States, even though the species is managed as a furbearer in Alaska and in most provinces of Canada. Body mass, blood chemistry, and hematologic data for free-ranging lynx were collected from 2003 to 2007 and for captive lynx from 1984 to 2007. Up to 2 yr of age, captive lynx were consistently heavier than free-ranging lynx. Body mass of adult free-ranging lynx was similar to body mass of captive adult lynx. Some differences in blood chemistry between free-ranging and captive lynx were statistically significant, but most measured values were within reference ranges for domestic cats. Free-ranging lynx had higher concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and blood urea nitrogen than did captive lynx, and these were outside the reference value ranges for domestic cats. Alkaline phosphatase and phosphorus were higher in juveniles (
In wild birds implanted intracoelomically with radio transmitters, a synthetic fabric collar placed around the base of a percutaneous antenna is believed to function as a barrier to contamination of the coelom. We examined 13 fabric collars recovered from percutaneous antennas of radio transmitters implanted intracoelomically in harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) 12 months earlier. Both the transmitters and antenna collars were encapsulated in fibrous connective tissue, with adhesions to internal organs. Histologically, bacteria were evident at the fabric-plastic interface in 8 of 10 collars examined in cross section and along the length of the collar in 3 collars examined longitudinally. Bacteria were confined within the fibrotic sheath surrounding the transmitter and the antenna collar in all birds. No evidence of chronic systemic effects secondary to implantation was present on hematologic or serum biochemical testing. These findings indicate that antenna collars do not prevent the entry of bacteria along the percutaneous antenna but may help stabilize the antenna and minimize coelomic contamination. We conclude that radio transmitters implanted into the coelom of harlequin ducks do not appear to cause significant health problems for at least 1 year after implantation.
As part of tagging and ecologic research efforts in 1997 and 1998, apparently healthy sea otters of four age-sex classes in six locations in Alaska and three in California were sampled for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other chemicals of ecologic or environmental concern (COECs). Published techniques for the detection of POPs (specifically ?polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs], ?DDTs, ?hexachlorocyclohexanes [HCHs], ?polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAHs], ?chlordanes [CHLs], hexachlorobenzene [HCB], dieldrin, and mirex) in the tissue of dead otters were modified for use with serum from live sea otters. Toxic equivalencies (TEQs) were calculated for POPs with proven bioactivity. Strong location effects were seen for most POPs and COECs; sea otters in California generally showed higher mean concentrations than those in Alaska. Differences in contaminant concentrations were detected among age and sex classes, with high levels frequently observed in subadults. Very high levels of ?DDT were detected in male sea otters in Elkhorn Slough, California, where strong freshwater outflow from agricultural areas occurs seasonally. All contaminants except mirex differed among Alaskan locations; only ?DDT, HCB, and chlorpyrifos differed within California. High levels of ?PCB (particularly larger, more persistent congeners) were detected at two locations in Alaska where associations between elevated PCBs and military activity have been established, while higher PCB levels were found at all three locations in California where no point source of PCBs has been identified. Although POP and COEC concentrations in blood may be less likely to reflect total body burden, concentrations in blood of healthy animals may be more biologically relevant and less influenced by state of nutrition or perimortem factors than other tissues routinely sampled.