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Plasma and tissue enzyme activities of banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) and diamondback water snakes (Nerodia rhombifer)

Alexandra K. Mason DVM, MS1, Sean M. Perry DVM, PhD1, and Mark A. Mitchell DVM, PhD1
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To measure plasma and tissue activities of alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase, and γ-glutamyltransferase in 2 snake species.

ANIMALS

6 banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) and 6 diamondback water snakes (Nerodia rhombifer).

PROCEDURES

Blood was collected via the ventral tail vein to measure plasma enzyme activities. Animals were then euthanized, and samples of 9 tissues were collected from each snake: skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, testicle, pancreas, and gallbladder. Tissues were frozen for 30 days, then homogenized and processed. Supernatants were collected and analyzed within 24 hours of processing. A linear mixed model was used to determine differences in enzyme activity between tissues and species and assess interactions between tissues and species.

RESULTS

Activities of all enzymes were found to differ significantly among tissues. There were also significant differences between species for all enzyme activities, except AST activity. The kidney had the highest alanine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyltransferase activities. Alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly highest in liver and kidney tissues than in other tissue. Creatine kinase activity was highest in skeletal muscle, followed by cardiac muscle and kidney. AST activity was present in all tissues evaluated, but was highest in liver, kidney, and cardiac muscle in both species.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results reinforced the importance of characterizing the origin of tissue enzymes in reptiles to improve our understanding of biochemistry results and highlighted the differences that can exist in tissue enzyme activities between closely related species.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To measure plasma and tissue activities of alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase, and γ-glutamyltransferase in 2 snake species.

ANIMALS

6 banded water snakes (Nerodia fasciata) and 6 diamondback water snakes (Nerodia rhombifer).

PROCEDURES

Blood was collected via the ventral tail vein to measure plasma enzyme activities. Animals were then euthanized, and samples of 9 tissues were collected from each snake: skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, liver, spleen, lung, kidney, testicle, pancreas, and gallbladder. Tissues were frozen for 30 days, then homogenized and processed. Supernatants were collected and analyzed within 24 hours of processing. A linear mixed model was used to determine differences in enzyme activity between tissues and species and assess interactions between tissues and species.

RESULTS

Activities of all enzymes were found to differ significantly among tissues. There were also significant differences between species for all enzyme activities, except AST activity. The kidney had the highest alanine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyltransferase activities. Alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly highest in liver and kidney tissues than in other tissue. Creatine kinase activity was highest in skeletal muscle, followed by cardiac muscle and kidney. AST activity was present in all tissues evaluated, but was highest in liver, kidney, and cardiac muscle in both species.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results reinforced the importance of characterizing the origin of tissue enzymes in reptiles to improve our understanding of biochemistry results and highlighted the differences that can exist in tissue enzyme activities between closely related species.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Mitchell (mmitchell@lsu.edu)