Reference Intervals for Plasma Capillary Zone Electrophoresis in Hermann’s Tortoises (Testudo hermanni) Depending on Season and Sex
Electrophoresis is a diagnostic tool for the detection of protein imbalances triggered by different diseases, including a variety of infectious diseases. This technique is routinely used in small mammals and birds, but has not yet been well established in most reptile species. Hermann´s tortoises (Testudo hermanni) are considered near threatened in the wild, but they are also one of the most commonly kept tortoises in Europe. This study aimed to establish reference intervals for capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) for this species for specific seasons and for each sex. Lithium-heparin blood samples were collected from 266 healthy adult Hermann´s tortoises between May 2016 and October 2017. Total protein was measured by the biuret method.a Plasma electrophoresis was performed by capillary zone electrophoresis.b The results show variations for the different sexes and seasons. In male tortoises, total protein, albumin, and the albumin/globulin ratio decline and α- and β-globulins rise from spring to fall. In female tortoises, the β-globulins decline, and γ-globulins rise from spring to fall. The results demonstrate that it is important to include the factors of sex and season when establishing plasma protein reference intervals and interpreting results. Preliminary results from comparative examinations on diseased tortoises show significant shifts in albumin and globulin concentrations in some cases. Electrophoresis can be a useful tool for detection and management of various diseases associated with protein imbalances in tortoises and can be used to improve diagnostics in reptile medicine.
a. cobas© 8000 analyzer series (Roche Diagnostics, Germany)
b. Sebia MINICAP (Sebia, Lissex, Evry Cedex, France)
This project was partially funded by a grant from the AAZV Wild Animal Health Fund.