Seasonal changes in glomerular filtration rate in Antechinus stuartii (Marsupialia: Dasyuridae)
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- McAllan, B., Roberts, J. & O'Shea, T. J Comp Physiol B (1998) 168: 41. doi:10.1007/s003600050119
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The small marsupial Antechinus stuartii experiences a synchronised life cycle that culminates in complete male mortality (within 3 weeks) following the 1 week mating period in mid-August (late winter). There are pronounced physiological changes in male A. stuartii over the life cycle and renal function was assessed for correlation with these changes. Glomerular filtration rate and urine and plasma electrolytes were determined in male and female A. stuartii in February, May, July and August. Females showed little change in glomerular filtration rate, except for pre-mating values in August which decreased. In contrast, glomerular filtration rate of males decreased significantly in July and August. Plasma sodium and chloride levels were higher in males than females and were higher in animals in July and August than in February and May. Plasma potassium levels dropped in both males and females in July and August. Plasma osmolality was higher in animals in February compared to animals from May and August. However, there were no significant sex or seasonal differences in urine electrolytes, although urea concentration was higher in females than males. Urine osmolality was higher in both sexes in July and August. There were no significant differences in total excretory rates of sodium, potassium or chloride between sexes or between seasons. Many of the alterations in renal function are correlated with known physiological and hormonal profiles in A. stuartii. This is the first observation of seasonal changes in glomerular filtration rate that are unrelated to dietary and water stresses.