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Noninvasive monitoring of adrenocortical activity in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) by measurement of fecal cortisol metabolites


Dehnhard, M; Clauss, Marcus; Lechner-Doll, M; Meyer, H H D; Palme, R (2001). Noninvasive monitoring of adrenocortical activity in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) by measurement of fecal cortisol metabolites. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 123(1):111-120.

Abstract

A method for measuring glucocorticoids noninvasively in feces of roe deer was established and validated. The enzyme immunoassay (EIA) measures 11,17-dioxoandrostanes (11,17-DOA), a group of cortisol metabolites. Such measurement avoids blood sampling and reflects a dampened pattern of diurnal glucocorticoid secretion, providing an integrated measure of adrenocortical activity. After high-performance liquid chromatography, the presence of at least three different immunoreactive 11,17-DOA in the feces of roe deer was demonstrated. The physiological relevance of these fecal cortisol metabolites to adrenocortical activity was evaluated with an adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge test: cortisol metabolite concentrations exceeded pretreatment levels (31-78 ng/g) up to 13-fold (183-944 ng/g) within 8-23 h. Starting from basal levels between 13 and 71 ng/g, a suppression of adrenocortical activity after dexamethasone administration, indicated by metabolite levels close to the detection limit, was obtained 36-81 h after treatment, whereas unmetabolized dexamethasone was detectable in feces 12 h after its injection. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite assessment via EIA is therefore of use in the monitoring of adrenocortical activity in roe deer. In a second experiment, capture, veterinary treatment, and transportation of animals were used as experimental stresses. This resulted in a 7.5-fold increase of fecal metabolites (1200 +/- 880 ng/g, mean +/- SD) compared to baseline concentrations. The administration of a long-acting tranquilizer (LAT), designed to minimize the physiological stress response, 2 days prior to a similar stress event led to a reduced stress response, resulting in only a 4-fold increase of fecal metabolites (650 +/- 280 ng/g; mean +/- SD). Therefore, LATs should be further investigated for their effectiveness in reducing stress responses in zoo and wild animals, e.g., when translocations are necessary.

Abstract

A method for measuring glucocorticoids noninvasively in feces of roe deer was established and validated. The enzyme immunoassay (EIA) measures 11,17-dioxoandrostanes (11,17-DOA), a group of cortisol metabolites. Such measurement avoids blood sampling and reflects a dampened pattern of diurnal glucocorticoid secretion, providing an integrated measure of adrenocortical activity. After high-performance liquid chromatography, the presence of at least three different immunoreactive 11,17-DOA in the feces of roe deer was demonstrated. The physiological relevance of these fecal cortisol metabolites to adrenocortical activity was evaluated with an adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge test: cortisol metabolite concentrations exceeded pretreatment levels (31-78 ng/g) up to 13-fold (183-944 ng/g) within 8-23 h. Starting from basal levels between 13 and 71 ng/g, a suppression of adrenocortical activity after dexamethasone administration, indicated by metabolite levels close to the detection limit, was obtained 36-81 h after treatment, whereas unmetabolized dexamethasone was detectable in feces 12 h after its injection. Fecal glucocorticoid metabolite assessment via EIA is therefore of use in the monitoring of adrenocortical activity in roe deer. In a second experiment, capture, veterinary treatment, and transportation of animals were used as experimental stresses. This resulted in a 7.5-fold increase of fecal metabolites (1200 +/- 880 ng/g, mean +/- SD) compared to baseline concentrations. The administration of a long-acting tranquilizer (LAT), designed to minimize the physiological stress response, 2 days prior to a similar stress event led to a reduced stress response, resulting in only a 4-fold increase of fecal metabolites (650 +/- 280 ng/g; mean +/- SD). Therefore, LATs should be further investigated for their effectiveness in reducing stress responses in zoo and wild animals, e.g., when translocations are necessary.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2001
Deposited On:11 Apr 2008 12:09
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 22:00
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0016-6480
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1006/gcen.2001.7656
PubMed ID:11551112

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