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OBJECTIVE To determine degrees of production of cyclooxygenase (COX)-1 and -2 and other mediators of inflammation in noninflamed and inflamed skin and muscle tissues in ball pythons (Python regius).

ANIMALS 6 healthy adult male ball pythons.

PROCEDURES Biopsy specimens of noninflamed skin and muscle tissue were collected from anesthetized snakes on day 0. A 2-cm skin and muscle incision was then made 5 cm distal to the biopsy sites with a CO2 laser to induce inflammation. On day 7, biopsy specimens of skin and muscle tissues were collected from the incision sites. Inflamed and noninflamed tissue specimens were evaluated for production of COX-1, COX-2, phosphorylated protein kinase B (AKT), total AKT, nuclear factor κ-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, phosphorylated extracellular receptor kinases (ERKs) 1 and 2, and total ERK proteins by western blot analysis. Histologic evaluation was performed on H&E-stained tissue sections.

RESULTS All biopsy specimens of inflamed skin and muscle tissues had higher histologic inflammation scores than did specimens of noninflamed tissue. Inflamed skin specimens had significantly greater production of COX-1 and phosphorylated ERK than did noninflamed skin specimens. Inflamed muscle specimens had significantly greater production of phosphorylated ERK and phosphorylated AKT, significantly lower production of COX-1, and no difference in production of COX-2, compared with production in noninflamed muscle specimens.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Production of COX-1, but not COX-2, was significantly greater in inflamed versus noninflamed skin specimens from ball pythons. Additional research into the reptilian COX signaling pathway is warranted.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research