Baseline values of immunologic parameters in the lizard Salvator merianae (Teiidae, Squamata)
The genus Salvator is widely distributed throughout South America. In Argentina, the species most abundant widely distributed is Salvator merianae. Particularly in Santa Fe province, the area occupied by populations of these lizards overlaps with areas where agriculture was extended. With the aim of established baseline values for four immunologic biomarkers widely used, 36 tegu lizards were evaluated tacking into account different age classes and both sexes. Total leukocyte counts were not different between age classes. Of the leucocytes count, eosinophils levels were higher in neonates compared with juvenile and adults; nevertheless, the heterophils group was the most prevalent leukocyte in the peripheral blood in all age classes. Lymphocytes, monocytes, heterophils, azurophils and basophils levels did not differ with age. Natural antibodies titres were higher in the adults compared with neonates and juveniles lizards. Lastly, complement system activity was low in neonates compared with juveniles and adults. Statistical analysis within each age group showed that gender was not a factor in the outcomes. Based on the results, we concluded that S. merianae demonstrated age (but not gender) related differences in the immune parameters analyzed. Having established baseline values for these four widely-used immunologic biomarkers, ongoing studies will seek to optimize the use of the S. merianae model in future research.
Keywords: Biomarkers, Immune system, Reptilian, Salvator merianae, Sentinel model