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Biol Reprod. 1996 Oct;55(4):875-82.

Natural and induced ovarian synchrony in golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia).

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  • 1Conservation and Research Center, Smithsonian Institution, Front Royal, Virginia 22630, USA.


Ovarian cycle synchrony was assessed in spontaneously cycling female golden lion tamarins by monitoring longitudinal (16 mo) urinary steroid metabolite (estrone conjugates; pregnanediol-3 alpha-glucuronide, PdG) excretion in four pairs (n = 8) of females isolated from males. The overall mean ovarian cycle duration was 18.5 +/- 0.3 days (n = 136 cycles; mean range, 15.7-21.0 days), and there was no evidence of reproductive seasonality. Laparoscopic ovarian examinations confirmed that cyclic fluctuations in urinary steroid metabolite excretion were temporally associated with the formation and demise of corpora lutea. Evaluation of ovarian synchronization tested the null hypothesis that urinary hormone cycles were expressed randomly relative to those of cagemates or other females housed in separate cages but within close proximity. Natural ovarian synchrony (expressed as the mean difference in ovarian cycle onset) between cagemates (4.1 +/- 0.4 days) and among noncagemates (4.2 +/- 0.2 days) did not differ (p > 0.05) from a random ovarian cycle distribution. Two trials also were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the prostaglandin (PG) F2 alpha analogue, cloprostenol, for artificially synchronizing ovarian cycles. Induced ovarian synchrony was not achieved with a single 0.8-microgram i.m. injection of cloprostenol. However, doubling the cloprostenol dose (1.6 micrograms) caused a rapid decrease in mean urinary PdG (p < 0.05) within 2 days, and synchronous ovulation was demonstrated by an increase (p < 0.01) in mean urinary PdG 10 days after cloprostenol administration. In summary, females housed in pairs, in the absence of males, exhibit spontaneous, year-round ovarian cycles with no evidence of among-female ovarian synchrony. Results also suggest that this New World primate has a reduced sensitivity to cloprostenol (compared to common marmosets) but that a single, midcycle cloprostenol injection of 1.6 micrograms effectively induces luteolysis and synchronous ovulation.

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