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The Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, decreases nitrogenous excretion, reduces urea synthesis and suppresses ammonia production during emersion.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23348951     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
The objective of this study was to examine the effects of 6 days of emersion on nitrogen metabolism and excretion in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. Despite having a soft shell with a cutaneous surface which is known to be water permeable, P. sinensis lost only ~2% of body mass and was able to maintain its hematocrit and plasma osmolality, [Na(+)] and [Cl(-)] during 6 days of emersion. During emersion, it ameliorated water loss by reducing urine output, which led to a reduction (by 29-76%) in ammonia excretion. In comparison, there was a more prominent reduction (by 82-99%) in urea excretion during emersion due to a lack of water to flush the buccopharyngeal epithelium, which is known to be the major route of urea excretion. Consequently, emersion resulted in an apparent shift from ureotely to ammonotely in P. sinensis. Although urea concentration increased in several tissues, the excess urea accumulated could only account for 13-22% of the deficit in urea excretion. Hence, it can be concluded that a decrease (~80%) in urea synthesis occurred in P. sinensis during 6 days of emersion. Indeed, emersion led to significant decreases in activities of some ornithine-urea cycle enzymes (argininosuccinate synthetase + argininosuccinate lyase and arginase) from the liver of P. sinensis. Since a decrease in urea synthesis occurred without accumulations of ammonia and total free amino acids, it can be deduced that ammonia production through amino acid catabolism was suppressed with a proportional reduction in proteolysis in P. sinensis during emersion. Indeed, calculated results revealed that there could be a prominent decrease(~88%) in ammonia production in turtles after 6 days of emersion. In summary, despite being ureogenic and ureotelic in water, P. sinensis adopted reduction in ammonia production, instead of increased urea synthesis, as the major strategy to ameliorate ammonia toxicity and problems associated with dehydration during terrestrial exposure.
Authors:
Alex Y K Ip; Serene M L Lee; Wai P Wong; Shit F Chew
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2013-1-24
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore;
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