SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • chimpanzee;
  • salivary cortisol;
  • ATCH challenge;
  • cortisol circadian rhythm

Abstract

Monitoring concentrations of stress hormones is an important tool for behavioral research and conservation for animals both in the wild and captivity. Glucocorticoids can be measured in mammals as an indicator of stress by analyzing blood, feces, urine, hair, feathers, or saliva. The advantages of using saliva for measuring cortisol concentrations are three-fold: it is minimally invasive, multiple samples can be collected from the same individual in a short timeframe, and cortisol has a relatively short response time in saliva as compared with other materials. The purpose of this study was to: (1) conduct an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge as a physiological validation for an enzyme immunoassay to measure salivary cortisol in chimpanzees and (2) characterize the circadian rhythm of salivary cortisol in chimpanzees. We determined that salivary cortisol concentrations peaked 45 min following the ACTH challenge, which is similar to humans. Also, salivary cortisol concentrations peaked early in the morning and decreased throughout the day. We recommend that saliva collection may be the most effective method of measuring stress reactivity and has the potential to complement behavioral, cognitive, physiological, and welfare studies. Am. J. Primatol. 73:903–908, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.