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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2011 Feb 1;170(3):550-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.11.012. Epub 2010 Nov 21.

Cortisol and corticosterone exhibit different seasonal variation and responses to acute stress and captivity in tuco-tucos (Ctenomys talarum).

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Laboratorio de Ecofisiología, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, CC 1245, Mar del Plata 7600, Argentina.


In this work we aimed to evaluate variations in plasma glucocorticoids (GCs, cortisol and corticosterone) levels throughout an annual cycle in free-living male tuco-tucos (Ctenomys talarum) and compare their responses to acute and chronic stressors (trapping, manipulation, immobilization, confinement in a novel environment, transference to captivity). In addition, we used leukocyte profiles to allow discrimination between basal and stress-induced seasonal changes in GC concentrations. Our results showed that cortisol and corticosterone are differently affected by environmental stimuli in C. talarum. Both hormones showed different patterns of variation in the field and responses to captivity. Moreover, only cortisol was responsive to acute stressors. Leukocyte profiles indicated that animals were unstressed in the field and therefore, that we were able to measure basal, stress-independent, fluctuations in GC levels. GC concentrations were low in comparison to values frequently reported for other mammals. Our results suggest differentiated physiological roles for cortisol and corticosterone in our study species and further emphasize the complexity of GC physiology in wild mammals.

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