Document Detail

Characterizing Gonadal and Adrenal Activity by Fecal Steroid Analyses in Pygmy Rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21377469     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
In 2001, the sudden collapse of the Columbia Basin population of pygmy rabbits prompted the initiation of a captive breeding program to facilitate reintroduction, but reproductive success in captivity has not met expectations. Therefore, the objective of this study was to characterize the reproductive and adrenal endocrinology of this endangered rabbit species so that appropriate management strategies could be developed to monitor animal welfare and increase reproduction. Fecal samples were collected from 27 female pygmy rabbits over three breeding and non-breeding seasons. HPLC analyses verified the presence of progesterone in the excreta of pygmy rabbits, but the majority of progestagen metabolites were unidentified polar compounds. By contrast, >70% of glucocorticoid immunoactivity was associated with cortisol. Longitudinal fecal hormone profiles during pregnancy were characterized by a large spike in progestagens shortly after mating, a gradual increase in progestagen and glucocorticoid concentrations throughout gestation and a return of hormones to baseline soon after birth (Day 24). The spike in progestagens 1 day after mating was a significant discovery for this species and appears to provide a reliable means of determining if a successful mating has occurred. Seasonal analyses of hormone excretion found that progestagen baselines did not vary between the breeding and non-breeding seasons, but, as expected, were highest during the breeding season in association with pregnancy. Across seasons, the lowest concentrations of glucocorticoids were associated with the highest rates of offspring production and survival, suggesting a possible link between heightened adrenal activity and lowered reproductive fitness in pygmy rabbits.
Candace D Scarlata; Becky A Elias; John R Godwin; Roger A Powell; David Shepherdson; Lisa A Shipley; Janine L Brown
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-3-3
Journal Detail:
Title:  General and comparative endocrinology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1095-6840     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-3-7     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370735     Medline TA:  Gen Comp Endocrinol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.
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