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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • reproduction;
  • hormonal changes;
  • estrus cycle;
  • squirrel monkey (Saimiri boliviensis boliviensis)

Abstract

This study was planned to evaluate the poor reproductive performance of aged squirrel monkeys in a self-sustaining breeding colony. Two groups of monkeys aged 6–8 years (Group 1), and >12 years (Group 2) were evaluated. During the midbreeding season, daily blood samples were obtained for a period of 35 days from 10 animals in each group. Blood samples were assayed for serum estradiol (E), progesterone (P), and bioassayable luteinizing hormone (bio-LH) concentrations and the data were analyzed by ANOVA (analysis of variance). Bio-LH surges were less frequent in the aged breeders (Group 2). Total P output during periovulatory period (day −;3 to day + 3) and the total P output during the luteal phases of the estrus cycles were significantly lower in aged squirrel monkeys (Group 2, P < 0.003). Although E peaks occurred less frequently in Group 2, they had higher concentrations as compared to Group 1 (P < 0.003). Cumulative periovulatory and luteal phase E levels did not differ between the two groups. The reduction in P output in aged squirrel monkeys may interfere with proper implantation, thus contributing to the lower pregnancy rate observed in this age group. The decreased frequency of bio-LH surges indicated less frequent ovulations in the aged animals which may further impair reproduction with aging. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.