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Development of an animal-borne blood sample collection device and its deployment for the determination of cardiovascular and stress hormones in phocid seals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Yoshio Takei, Ippei Suzuki, Marty K. S. Wong, Ryan Milne, Simon Moss, Katsufumi Sato, Ailsa Hall

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An animal-borne blood sampler with data-logging functions was developed for phocid seals, which collected two blood samples for the comparison of endocrino-logical/biochemical parameters under two different conditions. The sampler can be triggered by preset hydrostatic pressure, acceleration (descending or ascending), temperature, and time, and also man-ually by light. The sampling was reliable with 39/50 (78%) successful attempts to collect blood samples. Contamination of fluids in the tubing to the next blood sample was 1%, following the prior clearance of the tubing to a waste syringe. In captive harbor seals (Phoca vitulina), the automated blood-sampling method was less stressful than direct blood withdrawal, as evidenced by lower levels of stress hormones (P < 0.05 for ACTH and P = 0.078 for cortisol). HPLC analyses showed that both cortisol and cortisone were circu-lating in seal blood. Using the sampler, plasma levels of cardiovascular hormones, atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), AVP, and ANG II were compared in grey seals (Halichoerus grypus), between samples collected when the animals were on land and in the water. HPLC analyses determined that [Met12] ANP (1-28) and various forms of angiotensins (ANG II, III, and IV) were circulating in seal blood. Although water immersion profoundly changes the plasma levels of cardiovascular hormones in terrestrial mammals, there were only tendencies toward an increase in ANP (P = 0.069) and a decrease in AVP (P = 0.074) in the seals. These results suggest that cardiovascular regulation in phocid seals may have undergone adaptation during evolution of the carnivore to a semiaquatic lifestyle.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R788-R796
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology. Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
Early online date6 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Oct 2016

    Research areas

  • Cardiovascular hormone, Data logger, Gravity, Sea mammal, Stress hormone

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