Summer Research

* Student(s): Carolyn Carpenter , Meagan Kearney , Katie Holden , Sean Lally
Advisor: David Gapp

Title: Gastrin secretion in response to feeding in the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta


Feeding experiments with the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta, involved documenting changes of serum gastrin and plasma amino acid and serum glucose levels following a high protein meal. Turtles were fasted for three days before feeding a meal of trout. Blood samples were taken prior to feeding and 3, 6, 12, 24, and 48 hours after. All serum samples were analyzed to determine gastrin, total amino acid, and glucose concentrations. The results showed a sharp increase in gastrin levels 3-6 hours after feeding. Amino acid levels peaked 12 hours after feeding. Glucose levels fluctuated throughout the experiment, fluctuations most likely due to experimental stress. When a high protein meal is consumed the hydrogen ion concentration decreases which stimulates gastrin secretion. Increased gastrin levels cause an increase in HCl and pepsin secretion initiating protein digestion in the stomach. Our results support the hypothesis that a high protein meal will cause an increase in gastrin levels in Chrysemys picta and a subsequent increase in circulating amino acid levels as a result of protein digestion.

Cari Carpenter (above center) was supported by the Ralph E. Hansmann Summer Science Student Support Fund, and Megan Kearney (above left) and Katie Holden (not shown) were supported by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Fund. Sean Lally (above right) was supported by New York Science Education Program (NYSEP) Faculty-Student Summer Research Program.