[MARMAM] Biomarkers of Failed Pregnancy in Bottlenose Dolphins

Ashley Barratclough ashley_2486_b at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 3 12:25:01 PDT 2021

Dear All, 

My co-authors and I would like to share our Open Access publication in Diseases of Aquatic Organisms:

Barratclough, Ashley, Forrest M. Gomez, Jeanine S. Morey, Jennifer M. Meegan, Celeste Parry, Lori Schwacke, Eric D. Jensen, and Cynthia R. Smith. "Biochemical and hematological biomarkers of reproductive failure in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus." Diseases of aquatic organisms 144 (2021): 197-208.

https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/dao/v144/p197-208/ <https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/dao/v144/p197-208/>

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03591 <https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03591>

ABSTRACT: The physiological demands of pregnancy inevitably result in alterations in both biochemical and hematological parameters as fetal development occurs. The shifts observed in successful pregnancy in bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus to support both fetal physiological needs and maternal basal requirements have been established according to each trimester. Detecting aberrations in blood-based biomarkers could help facilitate diagnosis of gestational abnormalities, improve our understanding of factors influencing reproductive outcomes and aid in prediction of reproductive failure. This study retrospectively analyzed 263 blood samples from 15 bottlenose dolphins in 21 failed pregnancies over 28 yr (1989-2017). Most samples remained within normal pregnancy reference ranges; however, significant shifts were observed between trimesters. Hematological alterations, compared to successful pregnancy reference ranges from previously published data, were consistent across failed pregnancies and included an increased prevalence of elevated 2nd and 3rd trimester neutrophils, elevated 2nd trimester monocytes and decreased 3rd trimester eosinophils. In addition, low hematocrit and low red blood cells were more prevalent in the 2nd trimester. Biochemical shifts included an increased prevalence of elevated creatine phosphokinase in the 3rd trimester outside of the normal reference ranges. Across failed pregnancies, calcium and iron were decreased in the 3rd trimester. Significantly decreased progesterone in the 3rd trimester was a negative prognostic indicator of pregnancy outcome with decreasing 3rd trimester progesterone associated with failed pregnancy. This study demonstrates the use of blood-based biomarkers as possible predictors of pregnancy outcome in bottlenose dolphins.

KEY WORDS: Dolphin · Pregnancy · Failure · Blood · Biochemistry · Hematology · Biomarker

Best Wishes, 

Ashley Barratclough 

Conservation Medicine Veterinarian
National Marine Mammal Foundation
2240 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
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