Acute-phase proteins have become increasingly clinically useful biomarkers for the diagnosis and monitoring of inflammatory disease in many domestic and non-domestic species.1-3 Serum Amyloid A (SAA) is an acute-phase protein which was reportedly increased in bottlenose dolphins with inflammatory disease.4 Cray et al. (2013) previously established baseline information in healthy bottlenose dolphins using a commercially available immunoturbidimetric assay for SAA.5 No information is currently available regarding concentrations and trends of SAA during and after pregnancy. Orcas and bottlenose dolphins have inflammatory changes in serological and hematological parameters during pregnancy.6,7 The objective of this study was to measure SAA concentrations (mg/l) in healthy female bottlenose dolphins before, during, and after uncomplicated pregnancy.
SAA was measured in banked serum samples from 10 bottlenose dolphins (11 pregnancies) using a newly available dolphin-specific ELISA kit made by Life Diagnostics, Inc. Samples from the first, second, and third trimester, and within one month postpartum, as available, were analyzed. A sample within 12 months prior to conception at a time point when the patient was clinically healthy and had a normal complete blood count and chemistry panel, was also analyzed in all 10 dolphins. Median age of the study dolphins was 17 years (minimum = 10; maximum = 23 years). Overall, median SAA concentrations were higher during pregnancy and postpartum compared to prior to conception in study dolphins. Median SAA concentrations showed a linear increase from 1.0 mg/l (0.4, 2.7) during the first trimester of pregnancy, to 3.4 mg/l (2.7, 4.6) during the second trimester, to 5.2 mg/l (2.0, 16.0) during the third trimester, to 8.0 mg/l (1.3, 37.9) about seven days postpartum. In addition, median SAA concentrations were significantly higher during the third trimester (5.2 mg/l) and about seven days postpartum (8.0 mg/l) than before conception (1.4 mg/l). These results provide new baseline information on SAA concentrations in healthy bottlenose dolphins before, during, and after pregnancy, and indicate that SAA likely has significance as a major acute-phase protein in this species.
The authors wish to thank technicians and veterinarians at SeaWorld for technical assistance and medical care of dolphins, and the University of Miami Avian and Wildlife Laboratory technician team for technical assistance.
* Presenting author
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