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1 January 2019 REGIONAL AND AGE-RELATED VARIATIONS IN HAPTOGLOBIN CONCENTRATIONS IN STELLER SEA LIONS (EUMETOPIAS JUBATUS) FROM ALASKA, USA
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Abstract

Varying concentrations of the highly conserved acute phase response protein, haptoglobin, can indicate changes to the health and disease status of mammals, including the Steller sea lion (SSL; Eumetopias jubatus). To better understand factors relating to acute phase response in SSLs, circulating haptoglobin concentrations (Hp) were quantified in plasma collected from 1,272 individuals sampled near rookeries and haulouts off the coast of Alaska, US. We compared Hp in SSLs between sexes and among different age classes (young pups, young-of-the-year, yearlings, subadults, and adults) sampled within distinct regions in Alaska (Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska, Southeast Alaska). Regional and agerelated differences were observed, particularly in younger SSLs. No sex-related differences were detected. We identified weakly significant relationships between Hp and hematology measurements including white blood cell counts and hematocrit in young pups from the Aleutian Islands and Southeast Alaska. No relationship between Hp and body condition was found. Lastly, a nonlinear relationship of plasma Hp and whole blood total mercury concentrations (THg) was observed in SSLs from the endangered western distinct population segment in Alaska. These results demonstrated that regional variation in Hp, especially in younger SSLs, may reflect regional differences in health and circulating THg.

© Wildlife Disease Association 2019
Stephanie N. Kennedy, J. Margaret Castellini, Alison B. Hayden, Brian S. Fadely, Vladimir N. Burkanov, Andres Dajles, Todd M. O'Hara, and Lorrie D. Rea "REGIONAL AND AGE-RELATED VARIATIONS IN HAPTOGLOBIN CONCENTRATIONS IN STELLER SEA LIONS (EUMETOPIAS JUBATUS) FROM ALASKA, USA," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 55(1), 91-104, (1 January 2019). https://doi.org/10.7589/2017-10-257
Received: 18 October 2017; Accepted: 24 March 2018; Published: 1 January 2019
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