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Measuring Fecal Steroids: Guidelines for Practical Application

Authors

  • RUPERT PALME

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, A-1210 Vienna, Austria
    • Address for correspondence: Associate Professor Dr. Rupert Palme, Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinaerplatz 1, –1210 Vienna, Austria. Voice: +43-1-25077-4103; fax: +43-1-25077–4190. Rupert.Palme@vu-wien.ac.at

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Abstract

Abstract: During the past 20 years, measuring steroid hormone metabolites in fecal samples has become a widely appreciated technique, because it has proved to be a powerful, noninvasive tool that provides important information about an animal's endocrine status (adrenocortical activity and reproductive status). However, although sampling is relatively easy to perform and free of feedback, a careful consideration of various factors is necessary to achieve proper results that lead to sound conclusions. This article aims to provide guidelines for an adequate application of these techniques. It is meant as a checklist that addresses the main topics of concern, such as sample collection and storage, time delay extraction procedures, assay selection and validation, biological relevance, and some confounding factors. These issues are discussed briefly here and in more detail in other recent articles.

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