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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 30;6(3):e18042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018042.

Urinary C-peptide measurement as a marker of nutritional status in macaques.

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1
Jr Research Group Primate Sexual Selection, Reproductive Biology Unit, German Primate Centre, Goettingen, Germany.

Abstract

Studies of the nutritional status of wild animals are important in a wide range of research areas such as ecology, behavioural ecology and reproductive biology. However, they have so far been strongly limited by the indirect nature of the available non-invasive tools for the measurement of individual energetic status. The measurement of urinary C-peptide (UCP), which in humans and great apes shows a close link to individual nutritional status, may be a more direct, non-invasive tool for such studies in other primates as well and possibly even in non-primate mammals. Here, we test the suitability of UCPs as markers of nutritional status in non-hominid primates, investigating relationships between UCPs and body-mass-index (BMI), skinfold fatness, and plasma C-peptide levels in captive and free-ranging macaques. We also conducted a food reduction experiment, with daily monitoring of body weight and UCP levels. UCP levels showed significant positive correlations with BMI and skinfold fatness in both captive and free-ranging animals and with plasma C-peptide levels in captive ones. In the feeding experiment, UCP levels were positively correlated with changes in body mass and were significantly lower during food reduction than during re-feeding and the pre-experimental control condition. We conclude that UCPs may be used as reliable biomarkers of body condition and nutritional status in studies of free-ranging catarrhines. Our results open exciting opportunities for energetic studies on free-ranging primates and possibly also other mammals.

PMID:
21479215
PMCID:
PMC3068145
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0018042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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