Plasma levels of 22 endogenous amino acids were measured by ion‐exchange chromatography in four species of snakes: Thamnophis sirtalis, T. radix, Aipysurus laevis, and Python molurus. Despite considerable interspecific variation in the amino acid composition, all species showed relatively high plasma concentrations of histidine, a feature apparently unique to reptiles. The renal handling of these amino acids was studied by renal clearance methods. As in other vertebrates, net tubular absorption of filtered amino acids predominated. However, net tubular secretion of taurine, cysteic acid and/or phosphoserine and β‐alanine was observed, with taurine being the predominant amino acid secreted. The percentage reabsorption of the total amino acids filtered by the snake kidneys ranged from 79 to 95%. Evidence for the postrenal absorption of amino acids in these reptiles is presented. In species that normally undergo hibernation (Thamnophis spp.), the ability of the kidney to reabsorb amino acids was depressed by cold acclimation. Cold acclimation significantly decreased plasma levels of all amino acids except taurine, whose concentration increased. The increase in plasma taurine level may have resulted from cellular osmoregulation. Under these conditions, renal excretion of taurine increased concomitantly with the increase in plasma taurine concentration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology