Plasma and erythrocyte cholinesterase activities were determined for 40 free-living and 12 captive common long-nosed armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) in order to establish normal values for monitoring pesticide exposure. Plasma cholinesterase activity ranged from 105 to 549 U/liter with no sexual or seasonal differences. Plasma values from captive animals were significantly lower than those from wild armadillos. Erythrocyte cholinesterase activity ranged from 2,915 to 15,126 U/liter with no differences detected between captive and wild animals or between sexes. However, erythrocyte cholinesterase values varied seasonally. Erythrocyte and plasma cholinesterase activities were not significantly correlated. Packed cell volume ranged from 24 to 51% and did not vary significantly between captive and wild samples, between sexes or among seasons. However, both whole blood and erythrocyte cholinesterase activities showed significant negative correlations with packed cell volume. Controlled experiments are needed to find the factors responsible for the statistically significant difference between plasma cholinesterase activities of captive and wild armadillos. The seasonal variation in erythrocyte cholinesterase activity and the negative correlation between erythrocyte cholinesterase activity and packed cell volume can be explained by an hypothesis that relates the variation in erythrocyte cholinesterase activity to variation in erythrocyte turnover rate. Future work should involve experiments to test this hypothesis.
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Vol. 25 • No. 3