Tissue enzyme activities in the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

J Zoo Wildl Med. 2013 Mar;44(1):62-9. doi: 10.1638/1042-7260-44.1.62.


The loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, one of the seven species of threatened or endangered sea turtles worldwide, is one of the most commonly encountered marine turtles off the eastern coast of the United States and Gulf of Mexico. Although biochemical reference ranges have been evaluated for several species of sea turtles, tissue specificity of the commonly used plasma enzymes is lacking. This study evaluated the tissue specificity of eight enzymes, including amylase, lipase, creatine kinase (CK), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), in 30 tissues from five stranded loggerhead sea turtles with no evidence of infectious disease. Amylase and lipase showed the greatest tissue specificity, with activity found only in pancreatic samples. Creatine kinase had high levels present in skeletal and cardiac muscle, and moderate levels in central nervous system and gastrointestinal samples. Gamma-glutamyl transferase was found in kidney samples, but only in very low levels. Creatine kinase, ALP, AST, and LDH were found in all tissues evaluated and ALT was found in most, indicating low tissue specificity for these enzymes in the loggerhead.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Enzymes / classification
  • Enzymes / isolation & purification*
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / enzymology*
  • Genitalia / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / enzymology
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Skin / enzymology
  • Spinal Cord / enzymology
  • Thymus Gland / enzymology
  • Turtles / physiology*
  • Urinary Tract / enzymology*


  • Enzymes