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Effect of a brief stress on progesterone plasma levels in pregnant and non-pregnant guinea pigs

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image of Animal Biology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

Steroid hormones are essential for vertebrate reproduction. They are involved in the regulation of major female reproductive events like ovulation, embryo implantation, or gestation. For instance, progesterone promotes foeto-maternal exchanges whereas glucocorticoids stimulate the mobilization of the required energy resources. However, glucocorticoids are key effectors of the stress response; chronic elevations of these hormones can exert negative effects on reproduction. Yet, little is known about the effects of a brief exposure to a stressor on the respective plasma concentrations of sex steroids and glucocorticoids, notably during pregnancy. We examined the impact of a brief stress (handling + 1.5 hours in a bag) on progesterone and cortisol plasma concentrations in pregnant and non-pregnant female guinea pigs. Analyses revealed that: 1) pregnant females exhibited higher baseline progesterone and cortisol concentrations compared to non-pregnant females, as expected; 2) cortisol concentrations increased rapidly following manipulation, revealing a typical hormonal stress response; and, 3) progesterone concentrations decreased on average by 50.9% following the brief stress period, both in pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. These experimental results show for the first time a drastic and rapid impact on progesterone concentration caused by a brief stress.

Affiliations: 1: CEBC CNRS, UPR 1934, Villiers en Bois 79360 Beauvoir sur Niort, France

10.1163/15707563-00002428
/content/journals/10.1163/15707563-00002428
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2014-01-01
2016-12-10

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