Age-dependent changes in plasma biochemistry of yellow-legged gulls (Larus cachinnans)

Alonso-Alvarez, C., 2005. Age-dependent changes in plasma biochemistry of yellow-legged gulls (Larus cachinnans). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 140(4), pp.512-518.


The study of avian plasma chemistry is providing useful reference values for the management of endangered and game species, supporting veterinarians in their diagnostics, and also bringing to light relevant physiological adaptations during periods of food-shortage. Age is an important source of variability for plasma chemistry. Here I report plasma chemistry of yellow-legged gulls Larus cachinnans from different ages, between post-independence and adulthood, a 5-year interval. Increase in plasma cholesterol concentration and decreases in uric acid, inorganic phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase values were seen. Body mass corrected by body size (i.e. body condition) increased with age, plasma cholesterol being positively correlated in females, but not in males. Moreover, cholesterol was also positively correlated to gonad size in both sexes. Long-term developmental changes in this species, such as gonad development and the acquisition of an optimal body mass for reproduction, could explain these findings. Finally, inorganic phosphorus and alkaline phosphatase, both traditionally related to osteogenesis, were not associated to deferred skull ossification, as originally was suggested in other species.

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