Relation of glucocorticosteroids and testosterone to the annual cycle of free-living degus in semiarid Central Chile

Kenagy, GJ; Place, NJ; Veloso, C


We investigated seasonal patterns of plasma glucocorticosteroids (GCs) in both sexes and testosterone (T) in males in relation to the annual cycle in central Chile of a natural population of the degu (Octodon degus), a caviomorph rodent. We wanted to find out which GCs are present in degus, whether their seasonal variation suggests suppressive or synergistic interrelationships with T, and whether seasonal variation in GC levels indicates a relationship with energy mobilization and demands of reproduction. Degus mated in late autumn, and female body mass increased in pregnancy and remained high during lactation and throughout spring. Over the subsequent period of summer drought both sexes declined to a minimal body mass before the next mating season. Cortisol appears to be the principal GC in degus. In fact cortisol levels were so high that the extremely low levels of corticosterone measured were probably largely due to the cross-reactivity of our corticosterone antiserum with cortisol. Titers of cortisol in females exceeded 1000 ng/ml at lactation in the spring of 2 years; cortisol declined greatly following lactation and during the summer and reached its lowest mean level of about 500 ng/ml at mating. Males were more difficult to capture than females and thus our sampling was limited, but male cortisol levels were similar to those of females during the times of year when we measured them. Male T levels remained within a low range all year, but at mating, when mean T was highest (0.16 ng/ml) and when most males had detectable T, degus showed their lowest cortisol levels. The minimal cortisol level of males during mating;represents a possible suppressive effect of T,as described in other mammals. At the time of their spring emergence, 60% of juvenile males had detectable T levels comparable to those of adults, suggesting important organizational effects of T at that time in their maturation. Peak cortisol titers in both sexes were associated with lactation in females, when energy mobilization, production, and body mass were at their greatest. (C) 1999 Academic Press.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000081854200008 Not found in local WOS DB
Volumen: 115
Número: 2
Fecha de publicación: 1999
Página de inicio: 236
Página final: 243


Notas: ISI