Browsing Biological Sciences by Subjects
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Measuring physiological stress in the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus): Validation of a salivary cortisol collection and assay techniqueCortisol levels are often used as a physiological measure of the stress response in captive primates, with non-invasive measures of this being an important step in welfare assessment. We report a method of collecting saliva samples voluntarily from unrestrained captive common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), and validate an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique previously unused in this species. Saliva samples were collected from marmosets housed in pairs in a UK laboratory. The assay showed parallelism, precision, accuracy and sensitivity, meeting the criteria typically used to investigate the effectiveness of new analytical techniques. Use of Salimetrics® Oral Swabs considerably increased the amount of cortisol recovered in comparison with previous studies using cotton buds. However, while use of banana on the swabs can encourage chewing, it may influence results. Although increases in cortisol levels have traditionally been interpreted as an indicator of stress in primates, there are many factors that affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, with some studies showing decreases in cortisol levels post-stressor. Following a likely stressful event (capture for weighing), we also found cortisol levels significantly decreased, possibly due to social buffering or ‘blunting’ of the HPA axis. Order of weighing also had an effect. The method therefore provided an effective non-invasive means of assessing acute changes in cortisol level that may be more useful than previous methods, improving our ability to study physiological aspects of welfare in primates. We discuss methodological considerations, as well as implications of using cortisol as a measure of stress.
Validation of urinary cortisol as an indicator of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal function in the bearded emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens)This article discusses a study which aimed to collect samples of cortisol levels from bearded emperor tamarins (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens) in noninvasive manner and validate an enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) for the measurement of cortisol in urine to quantify hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity in the the bearded emperor tamarin.