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Keywords:

  • urinary steroids;
  • fecal steroids;
  • ovarian cycle;
  • pregnancy;
  • enzyme immunoassays

Abstract

A simple method for extracting and measuring ovarian steroids in feces is applied to the ovarian cycle, pregnancy, parturition, and period of lactational amenorrhea in Pithecia pithecia. Small amounts of wet, unmixed feces were combined with a modified phosphate buffer, shaken, centrifuged, and decanted, and the supernatant was directly measured for estrogen and progesterone metabolites by enzyme immunoassays. Urinary estrogen and progesterone metabolite measurements were compared to paired fecal measurements to determine the degree to which fecal hormone levels detected the same ovarian events as urinary measurements. The correlation coefficients for the relationship between urinary and fecal hormones for individual animals studied (n = 5) were found to be statistically significant in every case except one sexually immature animal. The application of the method presented here demonstrates that simple solubilization and non-radiometric measurement of ovarian steroids excreted in feces reliably reflect reproductive events in Pithecia pithecia. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.