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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


CHELINI, M.O.M. et al. Quantification of fecal estradiol and progesterone metabolites in Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2005, vol.38, n.11, pp.1711-1717. ISSN 0100-879X.

Alternative methods to the utilization of laboratory animal blood and its by-products are particularly attractive, especially regarding hamsters due to their small size and difficulties in obtaining serial blood samples. Steroid hormone metabolite quantification in feces, widely used in studies of free-ranging or intractable animals, is a non-invasive, non-stressor, economical, and animal saving technique which allows longitudinal studies by permitting frequent sampling of the same individual. The present study was undertaken to determine the suitability of this method for laboratory animals. Estradiol and progesterone metabolites were quantified by radioimmunoassay in feces of intact, sexually mature female Syrian hamsters during the estrous cycle (control) and in feces of superovulated females. Metabolites were extracted by fecal dilution in ethanol and quantified by solid phase radioimmunoassay. Median estrogen and progesterone concentrations were 9.703 and 180.74 ng/g feces in the control group, respectively. Peaks of estrogen (22.44 ± 4.54 ng/g feces) and progesterone (655.95 ± 129.93 ng/g feces) mean fecal concentrations respectively occurred 12 h before and immediately after ovulation, which is easily detected in this species by observation of a characteristic vaginal postovulatory discharge. Median estrogen and progesterone concentrations (28.159 and 586.57 ng/g feces, respectively) were significantly higher in superovulated animal feces (P < 0.0001). The present study demonstrated that it is possible to monitor ovarian activity in Syrian hamsters non-invasively by measuring fecal estradiol and progesterone metabolites. This technique appears to be a quite encouraging method for the development of new endocrinologic studies on laboratory animals.

Keywords : Endocrinology; Fecal steroids; Syrian hamster; Reproduction; Radioimmunoassay; Estrogen.

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