Reptiles represent a phylogenetic lineage that provides a unique link between ectothermic anamniotes and endothermic amniotes. Compared to mammalian and avian species, our understanding of the reptilian immune system is greatly lacking. This gap in knowledge is largely due to an absence of established immune-based assays or specific reagents for these species. In the present study, brown watersnakes () were live-captured in the wild, sexed, weighed, measured, bled via the caudal vein, and released. At 24 hr post-collection, peripheral blood leukocytes were enriched and evaluated with an established mammalian lymphocyte proliferation assay. Snake peripheral blood leukocyte enrichment yielded >90% lymphocytes with viabilities averaging 81.5%. Baseline physiologic data for , including hematology and total solids, leukocyte differentials, cell recovery, and plasma biochemistry, were also collected. Cells cultured with Concanavalin A exhibited significantly increased proliferation at both 72 and 96 hr. These preliminary results show that enriched peripheral blood from wild-caught provides a sufficient yield of leukocytes that can be cultured and functionally evaluated using a standard mammalian immune-based assay.

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PubMed