By W Scott Multner, Biochemistry
Advisor: Dr Julio Landero
Abstract: Iron Overload Disorder, is caused by the over storing of Iron in organ tissues. A wide assortment of animal species in captivity are subject to this disorder, including the African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) and the Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)1, as it progresses it can turn into Hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis results from hemosiderin building up in tissues and the body becoming unable to excrete the protein. This eventually leads to organ failure and can ultimately result in death. Samples of serum a variety of living specimens from multiple species were provided by the Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Wildlife so that experimenters could quantify metal distribution using size exclusion chromatography coupled with multiple channel metal analysis using ICP-MS. The project mainly focused on quantifying elemental content for Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mn, and Se. The identification of the ROS formation driver in the sick animals is the main objective of my research. For this I focused on Fe, Cu, and Se concentration at high, medium and low molecular mass fractions. Only the LMW fractions of Cu and Fe are ROS reactive and a correlation between LMW-Cu and ROS assays was found. This preliminary results suggest that both Fe and Cu have to be closely monitored in rhino diets.