Serum protein electrophoresis reference intervals for six species of wild-sampled sharks in South Florida

Published on
06 June 2022

Serum protein electrophoresis reference intervals for six species of wild-sampled sharks in South Florida

Samantha L Shinder, Carolyn Cray, Neil Hammerschlag, Liza Merly


Serum proteins found in the blood have been used as diagnostic markers in both human and animal medicine. Evaluating proteins in the blood of sharks may be a valuable way to assess shark health. The purpose of this study was to perform serum protein electrophoresis from non-lethal blood samples of wild sharks and establish baseline values for six species off South Florida: blacknose (Carcharhinus acronotus), blacktip (Carcharhinus limbatus), bull (Carcharhinus leucas), lemon (Negaprion brevirostris), sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus), and tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier). Two hundred and fifty-one serum samples were collected between 2015-2018 along with sex determination and morphometric measurements. Agarose gel analysis was performed using mammalian protein fraction delimits albumin, alpha 1-globulins, alpha 2-globulins, beta globulins, and gamma globulins alternatively defined as fractions 1-5. Reference electrophoretic profiles were established for each species, revealing the dominance of protein fractions 3 and 4. The fraction 3:4 ratio was determined for each shark and reference intervals for total solids, protein fractions, and fraction 3:4 ratio are reported for each species. There were no significant differences in total solids or protein fractions between males and females of any species. In both blacktip sharks and bull sharks, total solids was positively correlated with body size, but not in the other species evaluated. In blacknose sharks, the fraction 3:4 ratio was positively correlated with body condition. Results suggest that there may be differences in total solids values across dry and wet seasons for some species. Newly established reference intervals can now be utilized in future research to evaluate the health of captive sharks and to investigate the health status of individuals in the wild as well as relate health measures to environmental conditions.

Comparative Biology, 2022;, icac063, DOI: 10.1093/icb/icac063


Leave a Reply