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Title: Postprandial increases in nitrogenous excretion and urea synthesis in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis
Authors: Lee, S.M.L.
Wong, W.P.
Loong, A.M.
Hiong, K.C.
Chew, S.F.
Ip, Y.K. 
Keywords: Ammonia
Nitrogen metabolism
Pelodiscus sinensis
Issue Date: Jan-2007
Citation: Lee, S.M.L., Wong, W.P., Loong, A.M., Hiong, K.C., Chew, S.F., Ip, Y.K. (2007-01). Postprandial increases in nitrogenous excretion and urea synthesis in the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology 177 (1) : 19-29. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of feeding on the excretory nitrogen (N) metabolism of the aquatic Chinese soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, with a special emphasis on the role of urea synthesis in ammonia detoxification. P. sinensis is ureogenic and possesses a full complement of ornithine-urea cycle enzymes in its liver. It is primarily ureotelic in water, and the estimated rate of urea synthesis in unfed animals was equivalent to only 1.5% of the maximal capacity of carbamoyl phosphate synthetase I (CPS I) in its liver. Approximately 72 h was required for P. sinensis to completely digest a meal of prawn meat. During this period, there were significant increases in ammonia contents in the stomach at hour 24 and in the intestine between hours 12 and 36, which could be a result of bacterial activities in the intestinal tract. However, ammonia contents in the liver, muscle, brain and plasma remained unchanged throughout the 72-h post-feeding. In contrast, at hour 24, urea contents in the stomach, intestine, liver, muscle, brain and plasma increased significantly by 2.9-, 3.5-, 2.6-, 2.9-, 3.4 and 3.0-fold, respectively. In addition, there was a 3.3- to 8.0-fold increase in the urea excretion rate between hours 0 and 36 post-feeding, which preceded the increase in ammonia excretion between hours 12 and 48. By hour 48, 68% of the assimilated N from the feed was excreted, 54% of which was excreted as urea-N. The rate of urea synthesis apparently increased sevenfold during the initial 24 h after feeding, which demanded only 10% of the maximal CPS I capacity in P. sinensis. The postprandial detoxification of ammonia to urea in P. sinensis effectively prevented postprandial surges in ammonia contents in the plasma and other tissues, as observed in other animals, during the 72-h period post-feeding. In addition, postprandial ammonia toxicity was ameliorated by increased transamination and synthesis of certain amino acids in the liver and muscle of P. sinensis. After feeding, a slight but significant increase in the glutamine content occurred in the brain at hour 24, indicating that the brain might experience a transient increase in ammonia and ammonia was detoxified to glutamine. © 2006 Springer-Verlag.
Source Title: Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
ISSN: 01741578
DOI: 10.1007/s00360-006-0105-8
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