Skip to body

Primate

College of the Sciences

New Publication: Detection of neopterin in the urine of captive and wild platyrrhines by Alexandra Sacco, Jessica Mayhew, Mrinalini Watsa, Gideon Erkenswick, and April Binder

Congratulations to Alex Sacco on her first publication and co-authors: Jessica Mayhew (CWU PBE Professor), Mrinalini Watsa, Gideon Erkenswick, and April Binder (CWU Biology Professor). 

The authors explored neopterin as a non-invasive biomarker for health assessments in wild alloprimates in South America and confirmed that neopterin is measurable in urine. These findings promote the future use of UNC as an effective, affordable, non-invasive biomarker for field primatologists.

https://bmczool.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40850-020-00051-9

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Background

Non-invasive biomarkers can facilitate health assessments in wild primate populations by reducing the need for direct access to animals. Neopterin is a biomarker that is a product of the cell-mediated immune response, with high levels being indicative of poor survival expectations in some cases. The measurement of urinary neopterin concentration (UNC) has been validated as a method for monitoring cell-mediated immune system activation in multiple catarrhine species, but to date there is no study testing its utility in the urine of platyrrhine species. In this study, we collected urine samples across three platyrrhine families including small captive populations of Leontopithecus rosalia and Pithecia pithecia, and larger wild populations of Leontocebus weddelli, Saguinus imperator, Alouatta seniculus, and Plecturocebus toppini, to evaluate a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the measurement of urinary neopterin in platyrrhines.

Results

Our results revealed measured UNC fell within the sensitivity range of the assay in all urine samples collected from captive and wild platyrrhine study species via commercial ELISA, and results from several dilutions met expectations. We found significant differences in the mean UNC across all study species. Most notably, we observed higher UNC in the wild population of L. weddelli which is known to have two filarial nematode infections compared to S. imperator, which only have one.

Conclusion

Our study confirms that neopterin is measurable via commercial ELISA in urine collected from captive and wild individuals of six genera of platyrrhines across three different families. These findings promote the future utility of UNC as a promising biomarker for field primatologists conducting research in Latin America to non-invasively evaluate cell-mediated immune system activation from urine.

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.

Admissions@cwu.edu