Relocation stress induces short-term fecal cortisol increase in Tonkean macaques (Macaca tonkeana)
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The level of glucocorticoids, especially if obtained from noninvasive sampling, can be used as an index of animal well-being, allowing evaluation of the animal’s response to environmental modifications. Despite evidence that these hormones play a relevant role in energy metabolism regulation in perceived or real stress events, little is known regarding the factors that could modify the capability of animals to cope with relocation events. The aim of this research was to assess fecal cortisol metabolite concentrations before, during and after acute stress (transfer and relocation event) in two well-established social groups of Tonkean macaques (Macaca tonkeana). The results showed that the fecal levels of cortisol increased in individuals of both groups in response to the stress event, with a similar trend in males and females. Hormone levels were back to baseline values in both groups a few days after transfer and relocation. The presence of known social partners could be one of the factors that possibly facilitated the adaptation process.
KeywordsGlucocorticoid Primates Noninvasive Social group Enzyme immunoassay
The authors are grateful to Faye Abbiate, Emiliano Manzo, Melissa Messinese, Cristina Sagnotti and Elena Vero for the collection, and to Antonella Tramutola, Maria Libera Sparago and Manuela Zinni for the processing of fecal samples; our thanks also go to Alessandro Giuliani for help in statistical analysis, and to Monica Carosi for contribution to early development of the project. Sasha Gelpke is kindly acknowledged for her encouragement to investigate the effects of relocation of the Tonkean macaques. We are grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their help in improving the manuscript. Finally we thank Ludovica Cervi for language revision. Fondazione Ethoikos supported this work. Carlo Cinque and Anna Rita Zuena were supported by Fondazione Ethoikos training grants.
Compliance with ethical standards
Our research complied with the ethical standards and guidelines laid down by the EC Guide for Animal Experiments and with Italian national laws (D.L. 116/92, D.L. 26/2014).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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