Abstract # 208:

Scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2009 11:00 AM-11:10 AM: Session 21 (Shell Room) Oral Presentation


THE UPS AND DOWNS OF PREGNANCY: ENDOCRINE PROFILES OF OVARIAN ACTIVITY FROM FECES IN WILD MILNE-EDWARDS’ SIFAKA, PROPITHECUS EDWARDSI, IN RANOMAFANA NATIONAL PARK, MADAGASCAR

S. Tecot1,2,3, S. King1, J. Jernvall2,3,4 and P. C. Wright1,2,3
1Stony Brook University, ICTE/Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA, 2Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, NY, 3Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Madagascar, 4Developmental Biology Program, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki
line
     

We conducted this study to determine whether noninvasive techniques could indicate ovarian function in wild Propithecus edwardsi. To establish whether ovarian steroid fecal metabolites characterize reproduction, we analyzed 70 fecal samples collected from 4 adults preceding and during gestation (9/07-5/08), using radioimmunoassay (estradiol) and enzyme immunoassay (progesterone) techniques. We subtracted 179 days from birth to estimate conception. Three females delivered infants in May/June, 2008. We qualitatively investigated patterns (duration and timing) of estradiol and progesterone excretion within each female. Pregnant females displayed slight, gradual increases in fecal estradiol 9-12 days post-estimated conception, which sharply increased in 2 females at days 49-55, similar to that observed in wild P. verreauxi [increase ~day 7-15; surge ~day 42, Brockman, 1994]. The third pregnant female (3.5 yrs.) was primiparous, with lower fecal estradiol levels [maximum monthly means 4.3 and 5.6 times lower] and no spike as in the prime-aged (16, 17 yrs.) females, resembling that of the non-conceptive 5.5-year old. Gradual, sustained fecal progesterone elevations followed estradiol elevations in all gestating females at days 54, 53, and 43. The non-conceptive female displayed endocrine patterns indicative of a normal primate ovarian cycle, with earlier, sustained progesterone elevations which decreased as progesterone peaked in other females. Progesterone levels reliably indicate pregnancy and gestational estradiol may demonstrate age-related changes, which would facilitate future research in fetal loss and aging. Supported by NSF-BCS721233.