Temporal variation in physiological biomarkers in black flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto), Australia

Article


McMichael, Lee, Edson, Daniel, Mayer, David, McLaughlin, Amanda, Goldspink, Lauren, Vidgen, Miranda E., Kopp, Steven, Meers, Joanne and Field, Hume. 2016. "Temporal variation in physiological biomarkers in black flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto), Australia." Ecohealth. 13 (1), pp. 49-59. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-016-1113-0
Article Title

Temporal variation in physiological biomarkers in black flying-foxes (Pteropus alecto), Australia

ERA Journal ID13496
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsMcMichael, Lee (Author), Edson, Daniel (Author), Mayer, David (Author), McLaughlin, Amanda (Author), Goldspink, Lauren (Author), Vidgen, Miranda E. (Author), Kopp, Steven (Author), Meers, Joanne (Author) and Field, Hume (Author)
Journal TitleEcohealth
Journal Citation13 (1), pp. 49-59
Number of Pages11
Year2016
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN1612-9202
1612-9210
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10393-016-1113-0
Web Address (URL)http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10393-016-1113-0
Abstract

Bats of the genus Pteropus (Pteropodidae) are recognised as the natural host of multiple emerging pathogenic viruses of animal and human health significance, including henipaviruses, lyssaviruses and ebolaviruses. Some studies have suggested that physiological and ecological factors may be associated with Hendra virus infection in flying-foxes in Australia; however, it is essential to understand the normal range and seasonal variability of physiological biomarkers before seeking physiological associations with infection status. We aimed to measure a suite of physiological biomarkers in P. alecto over time to identify any seasonal fluctuations and to examine possible associations with life-cycle and environmental stressors. We sampled 839 adult P. alecto in the Australian state of Queensland over a 12-month period. The adjusted population means of every assessed hematologic and biochemical parameter were within the reported reference range on every sampling occasion. However, within this range, we identified significant temporal variation in these parameters, in urinary parameters and body condition, which primarily reflected the normal annual life cycle. We found no evident effect of remarkable physiological demands or nutritional stress, and no indication of clinical disease driving any parameter values outside the normal species reference range. Our findings identify underlying temporal physiological changes at the population level that inform epidemiological studies and assessment of putative physiological risk factors driving Hendra virus infection in P. alecto. More broadly, the findings add to the knowledge of Pteropus populations in terms of their relative resistance and resilience to emerging infectious disease.

Keywordsblack flying fox, Pteropus alecto, biomarker, haematology, biochemistry, urinalysis
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020300907. Veterinary medicine (excl. urology)
300904. Veterinary diagnosis and diagnostics
300905. Veterinary epidemiology
300914. Veterinary virology
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
University of the Sunshine Coast
Ecohealth Alliance, United States
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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