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Effect of Acute Stress on Plasma Concentrations of Sex and Stress Hormones in Juvenile Alligators Living in Control and Contaminated Lakes

Louis J. Guillette, Jr., D. Andrew Crain, Andrew A. Rooney and Allan R. Woodward
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 347-353
DOI: 10.2307/1565662
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1565662
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effect of Acute Stress on Plasma Concentrations of Sex and Stress Hormones in Juvenile Alligators Living in Control and Contaminated Lakes
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Abstract

Environmental contaminants can act as stressors, inducing elevated circulating concentrations of stress hormones such as corticosterone and cortisol. Development in contaminated eggs has been reported to modify circulating sex steroid hormone concentrations in alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). We examined plasma concentrations of testosterone (T), estradiol-17β (E2), and corticosterone (B) immediately upon and two hours after capture in male and female juvenile alligators living in either contaminated or relatively pristine lake systems. We observed that plasma T concentration was significantly depressed in males from the contaminated lake, whereas plasma E2 showed significant variation between sexes but not between lakes. Initial plasma B concentrations were similar between alligators from both lakes or either sex. Two hours of capture and restraint did not effect plasma T or E2 concentrations but was associated with a dramatic rise in plasma B concentrations. These data suggest that juvenile alligators exposed to contaminants in ovo are apparently unaffected in their rapid glucocorticoid response to acute stress.

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