Pseudopregnancy and reproductive cycle synchronisation cannot be induced using conventional methods in the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus)

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The menstruating spiny mouse is the first rodent identified to exhibit natural spontaneous decidualisation, cyclical endometrial shedding and regeneration. While the spiny mouse shares several primate-like characteristics in its reproductive biology, it has not been established whether pseudopregnancy can be induced or if its cycles can be synchronised as in non-human mammals. Here we describe attempts to induce pseudopregnancy and synchronisation of menstrual cycles (i.e. Whitten effect) in spiny mice. Virgin females (n = 3-8 per group) underwent one of the following procedures to induce pseudopregnancy: daily vaginal lavage only (control), progesterone injection, mechanical stimulation of the cervix and sterile mating. A separate cohort was also exposed to male-soiled bedding to assess the Whitten effect. Pseudopregnancy was deemed successful if females presented with extended (>12 consecutive days) leukocytic vaginal cytology. No female from any method of induction met this criterion. In addition, the menstrual cycles of a group of six females could not be synchronised, nor immediate ovulation induced via exposure to male-soiled bedding. These responses indicate that the spiny mouse does not behave as a typical rodent. Like higher-order primates, the spiny mouse exhibits a relatively rare reproductive strategy, of failure to show pseudopregnancy or cyclical synchronisation. This is further endorsement of the use of this species as a versatile animal model for translational studies of menstruation and fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • corpus luteum
  • menstruation
  • progesterone
  • rodent
  • stimulation
  • uterus

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