Serum Protein Analysis of Nurse Sharks

Leila AtallahBenson, Liza Merly, Carolyn Cray, Neil Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Serum protein electrophoresis (EPH) is used to assess relative concentrations of blood proteins in clinical and biological studies. Serum EPH fractions have been determined for elasmobranchs using mammalian albumin, alpha 1-, alpha 2-, beta-, and gamma-globulin fractions, and have been deemed fractions 1 through 5, respectively. However, serum EPH fraction concentration reference intervals (RIs) have not been widely established for different elasmobranch species. In this study, RIs for fractions 1 through 5 were determined from 45 wild-caught Nurse Sharks Ginglymostoma cirratum (27 females and 23 males) in South Florida. Serum samples were isolated from whole blood following caudal venipuncture. Body condition was also measured in the field to assess the relative health of the individuals sampled. There was no relationship between body condition and serum EPH fraction concentrations. In addition, there was no difference in body condition or serum EPH fraction concentrations between females and males. Total solids and total protein values were significantly different (P < 0.001). Nurse Shark serum EPH fraction 1 was found within the mammalian albumin migrating band distance and was negligible. Fraction 2 showed no peak in the mammalian alpha 1-globulin range. A thin, medium peak in the mammalian alpha 2-globulin range represented fraction 3. In the mammalian beta-globulin range, fraction 4 consisted of the majority of protein observed. It was represented by a smooth, broad peak. A short, medium broad peak in the mammalian gamma-globulin range represented fraction 5. The Nurse Shark serum EPH fraction RIs provided in this study may be utilized to clinically evaluate the health of Nurse Sharks in captivity and in the wild, and to compare the health of their populations around the world experiencing various anthropogenic stressors and other environmental impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Aquatic Animal Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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