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Title: The effects of body region, season and external arsenic application on hair cortisol concentration
Authors: Schulte-Hostedde, Albrecht I.
Acker, Madison
Mastromonaco, Gabriela F.
Keywords: American mink;captive population;museum collection;Vancouver Island Marmot
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2018
Publisher: Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology
Citation: Acker M, Mastromonaco G, Schulte-Hostedde AI (2018) The effects of body region, season and external arsenic application on hair cortisol concentration. Conserv Physiol 6(1): coy037; doi:10.1093/conphys/coy037.
Abstract: Hair cortisol analysis has been used to quantify hormone levels in circulation in several mammal species. Hair remains stable for decades or centuries, allowing researchers to use archived hair samples to investigate hormone levels that span long time periods. However, several studies have found that intra-individual variability, driven by the body region from which a sample is derived, confounds measurements of systemic glucocorticoid hormone concentrations. In addition, the external application of chemical agents to hair can remove or concentrate molecules of interest. These may preclude the use of samples that have been collected opportunistically and/or those that have been housed in museum collections. Using a captive population of Vancouver Island marmots (Marmota vancouverensis), we found a strong effect of body region on the concentration of cortisol within hair, as well as an effect of season. Using a collection of American mink (Neovison vison) pelts, we found that application of the preservative arsenic in the form of a soap does not cause a signifi- cant decrease in cortisol. The marmot results suggest that intra-individual variability is not stable through time. The reason for these seasonal effects is not clear and further study is necessary. Researchers using samples from an unknown body region should exercise caution in interpreting their results. The mink results suggest that samples held in museum collec- tions can be used to quantify cortisol, even when arsenic preservation is suspected.
Appears in Collections:Schulte-Hostedde, Albrecht

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