Methodological Considerations in the Analysis of Fecal Glucocorticoid Metabolites in Tufted Capuchins (Cebus apella)

Analysis of fecal glucocorticoid (GC) metabolites has recently become the standard method to monitor adrenocortical activity in primates noninvasively. However, given variation in the production, metabolism, and excretion of GCs across species and even between sexes, there are no standard methods that are universally applicable. In particular, it is important to validate assays intended to measure GC production, test extraction and storage procedures, and consider the time course of GC metabolite excretion relative to the production and circulation of the native hormones. This study examines these four methodological aspects of fecal GC metabolite analysis in tufted capuchins (Cebus apella). Specifically, we conducted an adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) challenge on one male and one female capuchin to test the validity of four GC enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) and document the time course characterizing GC metabolite excretion in this species. In addition, we compare a common field-friendly technique for extracting fecal GC metabolites to an established laboratory extraction methodology and test for effects of storing "field extracts" for up to 1 yr. Results suggest that a corticosterone EIA is most sensitive to changes in GC production, provides reliable measures when extracted according to the field method, and measures GC metabolites which remain highly stable after even 12 mo of storage. Further, the time course of GC metabolite excretion is shorter than that described yet for any primate taxa. These results provide guidelines for studies of GCs in tufted capuchins, and underscore the importance of validating methods for fecal hormone analysis for each species of interest.

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Wheeler, Brandon C.
Tiddi, Barbara
Kalbitzer, Urs
Visalberghi, Elisabetta
Heistermann, Michael
Springer [etc.], Dordrecht [etc.],, Paesi Bassi
International journal of primatology 34 (2013): 879–898. doi:10.1007/s10764-013-9703-y
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Wheeler, Brandon C.; Tiddi, Barbara; Kalbitzer, Urs; Visalberghi, Elisabetta; Heistermann, Michael/titolo:Methodological Considerations in the Analysis of Fecal Glucocorticoid Metabolites in Tufted Capuchins (Cebus apella)/doi:1
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