Handling is a source of stress for farm bred blue foxes. The influence of handling during the late gestation period on the pituitary–adrenal axis was studied in 10-day old male and female blue foxes. Cortisol and progesterone were measured by radioimmunoassay in the plasma, adrenal homogenates, and in vitro incubates from animals of both sexes. Adrenals were incubated in vitro in the absence or presence of ACTH. In addition, the adrenal weight and plasma concentration of ACTH were assessed. In cubs of both sexes, the adrenal weight was decreased after prenatal stress treatment. The plasma concentration of progesterone and the adrenal cortisol in vitro production were elevated in the prenatally stressed female cubs, as compared to the control, along with the adrenal progesterone in vitro production in prenatally stressed male cubs. The adrenal cortisol and progesterone content and plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations were not affected by prenatal stress. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that the prenatal stress induced by handling pregnant vixens can affect the pituitary–adrenal axis in neonatal offspring, this effect being more pronounced in female cubs.
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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