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Keywords:

  • androgens;
  • testosterone;
  • androstenedione;
  • dehydroepiandrosterone;
  • diurnal rhythm;
  • squirrel monkeys;
  • Saimiri sciureus

Abstract

To assess diurnal fluctuations of serum androgens and cortisol in adult male Bolivian squirrel monkeys, these steroids were measured at predetermined times (0300, 0900, and 2300 hours) during two separate 24-hour periods in the breeding season (January 1983 and late November 1983). A significant diurnal change in serum cortisol was noted, with a nadir of 99.9 ± 11.9 μg/dl (x̄ ± SEM) at 2300 hours and a peak of 168.9 ± 7.8 μg/dl at 0900 hours. Conversely, a nadir in serum testosterone was noted at 0900 hours (117 ± 26.5 ng/ml) increasing to a peak of 328.5 ± 57.9 ng/ml at 0300 hours. Serum androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone followed a pattern similar to testosterone, with a serum androstenedione (176.4 ± 34.9 ng/ml) and dehydroepiandrosterone (11.7 + 1.8 ng/ml) nadir at 0900 hours and a plasma androstenedione (494.5 ± 55.4 ng/ml) and dehydroepiandrosterone (32.5 ± 4.1 ng/ml) peak at 0300 hours. Parallel changes of testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone suggest a significant contribution of all three androgens from a common site, the testes. In contrast to old world primates and humans, serum androstenedione levels exceeded serum testosterone levels in this species.