Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Horm Behav. 2004 Jan;45(1):10-22.

Analyzing corticosterone metabolites in fecal samples of mice: a noninvasive technique to monitor stress hormones.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioural Biology, University of Muenster, D-48149 Muenster, Germany. touma@uni-muenster.de

Abstract

In small animals like mice, the monitoring of endocrine functions over time is constrained seriously by the adverse effects of blood sampling. Therefore, noninvasive techniques to monitor, for example, stress hormones in these animals are highly demanded in laboratory as well as in field research. The aim of our study was to evaluate the biological relevance of a recently developed technique to monitor stress hormone metabolites in fecal samples of laboratory mice. In total, six experiments were performed using six male and six female mice each. Two adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge tests, two dexamethasone (Dex) suppression tests and two control experiments [investigating effects of the injection procedure itself and the diurnal variation (DV) of glucocorticoids (GCs), respectively] were conducted. The experiments clearly demonstrated that pharmacological stimulation and suppression of adrenocortical activity was reflected accurately by means of corticosterone metabolite (CM) measurements in the feces of males and females. Furthermore, the technique proved sensitive enough to detect dosage-dependent effects of the ACTH/Dex treatment and facilitated to reveal profound effects of the injection procedure itself. Even the naturally occurring DV of GCs could be monitored reliably. Thus, our results confirm that measurement of fecal CM with the recently established 5alpha-pregnane-3beta,11beta,21-triol-20-one enzyme immunoassay is a very powerful tool to monitor adrenocortical activity in laboratory mice. Since mice represent the vast majority of all rodents used for research worldwide and the number of transgenic and knockout mice utilized as animal models is still increasing, this noninvasive technique can open new perspectives in biomedical and behavioral science.

PMID:
14733887
DOI:
10.1016/j.yhbeh.2003.07.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center