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Exploration of serum cardiac troponin I as a biomarker of cardiomyopathy in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis)

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  • 1 From the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center and EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics, One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616
  • | 2 From the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616
  • | 3 From the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
  • | 4 From the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA 93940
  • | 5 From the Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA 94965
  • | 6 From the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA 90802
  • | 7 From the SeaWorld Animal Health and Rescue Center, San Diego, CA 92109

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To compare serum cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations between sea otters with and without cardiomyopathy and describe 2 cases of cardiomyopathy with different etiologies.

ANIMALS

25 free-ranging southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) with (n = 14; cases) and without (11; controls) cardiomyopathy and 17 healthy managed southern sea otters from aquariums or rehabilitation centers (controls).

PROCEDURES

Serum cTnI concentration was measured in live sea otters. Histopathologic and gross necropsy findings were used to classify cardiomyopathy status in free-ranging otters; physical examination and echocardiography were used to assess health status of managed otters. Two otters received extensive medical evaluations under managed care, including diagnostic imaging, serial cTnI concentration measurement, and necropsy.

RESULTS

A significant difference in cTnI concentrations was observed between cases and both control groups, with median values of 0.279 ng/mL for cases and < 0.006 ng/mL for free-ranging and managed controls. A cutoff value of ≥ 0.037 ng/mL yielded respective sensitivity and specificity estimates for detection of cardiomyopathy of 64.3% and 90.9% for free-ranging cases versus free-ranging controls and 64.3% and 94.1% for free-ranging cases versus managed controls.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Cardiomyopathy is a common cause of sea otter death that has been associated with domoic acid exposure and protozoal infection. Antemortem diagnostic tests are needed to identify cardiac damage. Results suggested that serum cTnI concentration has promise as a biomarker for detection of cardiomyopathy in sea otters. Serial cTnI concentration measurements and diagnostic imaging are recommended to improve heart disease diagnosis in managed care settings.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To compare serum cardiac troponin I (cTnI) concentrations between sea otters with and without cardiomyopathy and describe 2 cases of cardiomyopathy with different etiologies.

ANIMALS

25 free-ranging southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) with (n = 14; cases) and without (11; controls) cardiomyopathy and 17 healthy managed southern sea otters from aquariums or rehabilitation centers (controls).

PROCEDURES

Serum cTnI concentration was measured in live sea otters. Histopathologic and gross necropsy findings were used to classify cardiomyopathy status in free-ranging otters; physical examination and echocardiography were used to assess health status of managed otters. Two otters received extensive medical evaluations under managed care, including diagnostic imaging, serial cTnI concentration measurement, and necropsy.

RESULTS

A significant difference in cTnI concentrations was observed between cases and both control groups, with median values of 0.279 ng/mL for cases and < 0.006 ng/mL for free-ranging and managed controls. A cutoff value of ≥ 0.037 ng/mL yielded respective sensitivity and specificity estimates for detection of cardiomyopathy of 64.3% and 90.9% for free-ranging cases versus free-ranging controls and 64.3% and 94.1% for free-ranging cases versus managed controls.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Cardiomyopathy is a common cause of sea otter death that has been associated with domoic acid exposure and protozoal infection. Antemortem diagnostic tests are needed to identify cardiac damage. Results suggested that serum cTnI concentration has promise as a biomarker for detection of cardiomyopathy in sea otters. Serial cTnI concentration measurements and diagnostic imaging are recommended to improve heart disease diagnosis in managed care settings.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 182 kb)
    • Supplementary Figure S2 (PDF 213 kb)
    • Supplementary Figure S3 (PDF 168 kb)
    • Supplementary Figure S4 (PDF 247 kb)
    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 176 kb)
    • Supplementary Table S2 (PDF 156 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Moriarty (memoriarty@ucdavis.edu).