, Volume 168, Issue 4, pp 248-256

The effects of cortisol and testosterone on renal function in male Antechinus stuartii (Marsupialia)

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Seasonal changes in the physiology of Antechinus stuartii result in complete male mortality after mating. The most important endocrine changes in males are large rises in plasma testosterone and cortisol concentrations. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in males declines coincident with high plasma testosterone and cortisol. In the present study GFRs were measured in males captured in May (when endogenous plasma testosterone and cortisol levels are low) and given depot injections of either saline, testosterone-only, cortisol-only or testosterone plus cortisol at doses designed to mimic plasma levels during the mating period. GFR decreased significantly with testosterone injection, independent of cortisol treatment. Urinary concentrations of sodium and chloride, and osmolality decreased significantly with cortisol treatment, although the addition of testosterone reversed the effect. Total urinary excretion of electrolytes was similar between groups. Plasma potassium levels significantly increased in testosterone plus cortisol treated males. Plasma sodium levels significantly increased and plasma chloride significantly decreased in all groups treated with cortisol. Water consumption significantly increased in all cortisol-treated males and food consumption significantly increased in all testosterone-treated males. The seasonal renal functional changes observed in A. stuartii were mimicked by testosterone administration.

Accepted: 23 January 1998