Plasma steroids and steroid-binding capacity in male semelparous dasyurid marsupials (Phascogale tapoatafa) that survive beyond the breeding season in captivity

Adele Schmidt, David Taggart, Peter Holz, Peter Temple-Smith, Adrian Bradley

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The semelparous dasyurids display a unique life history, in that all males die within a few weeks of the completion of the breeding season. Studies of several semelparous species have revealed that the male die-off is stress-related, and accompanied by increased plasma androgen and cortisol levels and decreased corticosteroid binding capacity, resulting in suppression of immune and inflammatory responses. This study examines the endocrine profile of male brush-tailed phascogales (Phascogale tapoatafa) that survive beyond the breeding season in captivity. Plasma cortisol, corticosteroid binding globulin and albumin levels were monitored in both males and females and steroid partitioning calculated. Captive males surviving beyond the breeding season did not show the elevation in plasma cortisol and decrease in corticosteroid binding capacity reported in wild males. Plasma albumin concentrations also remained constant during the sampling period. These data indicate that captive males do not undergo the same stress response described in wild populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236 - 243
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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