Respiratory diseases are a common cause of morbidity and mortality in raptors. Among these diseases, aspergillosis
is one of the most important causes of mortality of falcons in the Middle East. Falcon blood (plasma) has been investigated
for the first time by 1H-NMR spectroscopy and multivariate statistics in order to identify and comparatively
characterize the metabolic profile of aspergillosis. Clear differences exist between the profiles of healthy and diseased
subjects and lead to clean clustering in statistics. Analysis of the orthogonal projection to latent structure discriminant
analysis (O-PLS-DA) coefficient plots and statistical total correlation spectroscopy (STOCSY) traces helps to identify
significant components that define the separation. We have observed that 3-hydroxybutyrate is greatly increased in the
diseased cohort, among a variety of other metabolic differences. Also, there is a distinctively different behavior of the
very low density (VLDL) and low density lipids/lipoproteins (LDL); the heavier lipid subfractions are significantly diminished
in the sick subjects. These findings serve as the first step towards developing a possible test for early diagnosis and
may provide a better understanding of the underlying biochemistry of this disease.
Keywords: Falcons, NMR, metabolomics, STOCSY, multivariate statistics, aspergillosis, wildlife.
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