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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2000 May;118(2):262-72.

Seasonal relationships between plasma and fecal testosterone in response to GnRH in domestic ganders.

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Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle and Department of Zoology, University of Vienna, Austria.


In two groups (eight individuals each) of socially acquainted, outdoor-kept, domestic ganders (male Hungarian white: Anser domesticus), basal and GnRH-stimulated plasma testosterone (T) concentrations were compared with fecal testosterone metabolites (TM) in and between three seasons, spring peak of reproductive activity, summer photorefractoriness, and fall sexual reactivation. Plasma was sampled 90 min following the challenge and T was analyzed by radioimmunoassay following the GnRH challenge. Fecal TM were measured by enzyme immunoassay using two group-specific antibodies against 17beta-OH-androgens or a novel antibody against 17-oxo groups, which was found to react with major testosterone metabolites without prior hydrolytic deconjugation. Baseline plasma T and systemic levels were high in spring and fall but low in summer. Plasma T increases in response to GnRH were followed by significantly elevated fecal TM levels 2 to 6 h following the challenge in spring and fall. In fall, at high plasma T levels, fecal TM levels were disproportionally lower than in spring. Variability of TM levels was two to five times higher in feces than in plasma, which explains why correlations between individual plasma T and fecal TM levels generally remained nonsignificant. This points to a low-level short-term relationship between the excreted TM and the plasma T levels. However, the reliability of the method was demonstrated by standard inter- and intraassay variabilities and by a high correspondence between results obtained by the two assays. It is suggested that, with appropriate sample size, fecal TM reflects plasma T increase. However, fecal TM was more variable than the plasma T, and fecal TM responses to GnRH did not always parallel the plasma T response. In addition, seasonal changes in androgen excretion regimes must be taken into account.

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