1H NMR based metabolic profiling distinguishes the differential impact of capture techniques on wild bighorn sheep
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Environmental metabolomics has the potential to facilitate the establishment of a new suite of tools for assessing the physiological status of important wildlife species. A first step in developing such tools is to evaluate the impacts of various capture techniques on metabolic profiles as capture is necessary to obtain the biological samples required for assays. This study employed 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolite profiling of 562 blood serum samples from wild bighorn sheep to identify characteristic molecular serum makers of three capture techniques (dart, dropnet, and helicopter-based captures) to inform future sampling protocols for metabolomics studies, and to provide insights into the physiological impacts of capture. We found that different capture techniques induce distinct changes in amino acid serum profiles, the urea cycle, and glycolysis, and attribute the differences in metabolic patterns to differences in physical activity and stress caused by the different capture methods. These results suggest that when designing experiments involving the capture of wild animals, it may be prudent to employ a single capture technique to reduce confounding factors. Our results also supports administration of tranquilizers as soon as animals are restrained to mitigate short-term physiological and metabolic responses when using pursuit and physical restraint capture techniques.
O’Shea-Stone, G., Lambert, R., Tripet, B. et al. 1H NMR based metabolic profiling distinguishes the differential impact of capture techniques on wild bighorn sheep. Sci Rep 11, 11308 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90931-y