Adrenal and white cell count responses to chronic stress in gestating and postpartum females of the viviparous skink
Egernia whitii (Scincidae)
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Cartledge, VA and Gartrell, B and Jones, SM, Adrenal and white cell count responses to chronic stress in gestating and postpartum females of the viviparous skink
Egernia whitii (Scincidae), Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A, 141, (1) pp. 100-107. ISSN 1095-6433 (2005) [Refereed Article]
This study investigates the relationships between plasma corticosterone concentrations and white cell counts in captive females of the viviparous lizard Egernia whitii during two phases of the reproductive cycle. Gestating and postpartum females were captured in the field and held in the laboratory for 4 weeks. Plasma corticosterone and progesterone concentrations and white blood cell counts were examined in blood samples taken at capture and after 24 h, 1 week, and 4 weeks in captivity. At 24 h after capture, plasma corticosterone concentrations in both groups had increased significantly compared with initial values but then returned to initial concentrations after 1 week in captivity and remained low in the 4 week samples. Plasma progesterone concentrations remained elevated in the gestating females until the week 4 sample, just prior to parturition. The hormone data suggest that capture and captivity did not represent a significant long-term stressor to these animals. The increase in plasma corticosterone concentration was associated with heterophilia in the differential leucocyte count in both groups of females. Lymphocyte numbers decreased only in gestating females, suggesting that reproductive status may influence the interaction between adrenal activity and immune function. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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