Multiple steroid and thyroid hormones detected in baleen from eight whale species
Hunt, Kathleen E.
Lysiak, Nadine S. J.
Moore, Michael J.
Seton, Rosemary E.
Buck, C. Loren
MetadataShow full item record
Recent studies have demonstrated that some hormones are present in baleen powder from bowhead (Balaena mysticetus) and North Atlantic right (Eubalaena glacialis) whales. To test the potential generalizability of this technique for studies of stress and reproduction in large whales, we sought to determine whether all major classes of steroid and thyroid hormones are detectable in baleen, and whether these hormones are detectable in other mysticetes. Powdered baleen samples were recovered from single specimens of North Atlantic right, bowhead, blue (Balaenoptera [B.]musculus), sei (B. borealis), minke (B. acutorostrata), fin (B. physalus), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and gray (Eschrichtius robustus) whales. Hormones were extracted with a methanol vortex method, after which we tested all species with commercial enzyme immunoassays (EIAs, Arbor Assays) for progesterone, testosterone, 17β-estradiol, cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine, representing a wide array of steroid and thyroid hormones of interest for whale physiology research. In total, 64 parallelism tests (8 species × 8 hormones) were evaluated to verify good binding affinity of the assay antibodies to hormones in baleen. We also tested assay accuracy, although available sample volume limited this test to progesterone, testosterone and cortisol. All tested hormones were detectable in baleen powder of all species, and all assays passed parallelism and accuracy tests. Although only single individuals were tested, the consistent detectability of all hormones in all species indicates that baleen hormone analysis is likely applicable to a broad range of mysticetes, and that the EIA kits tested here perform well with baleen extract. Quantification of hormones in baleen may be a suitable technique with which to explore questions that have historically been difficult to address in large whales, including pregnancy and inter-calving interval, age of sexual maturation, timing and duration of seasonal reproductive cycles, adrenal physiology and metabolic rate.
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Conservation Physiology 5 (2017): cox061, doi:10.1093/conphys/cox061.
Suggested CitationArticle: Hunt, Kathleen E., Lysiak, Nadine S. J., Robbins, Jooke, Moore, Michael J., Seton, Rosemary E., Torres, Leigh, Buck, C. Loren, "Multiple steroid and thyroid hormones detected in baleen from eight whale species", Conservation Physiology 5 (2017): cox061, DOI:10.1093/conphys/cox061, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/9436
The following license files are associated with this item:
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Multi-year longitudinal profiles of cortisol and corticosterone recovered from baleen of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) Hunt, Kathleen E.; Lysiak, Nadine S. J.; Moore, Michael J.; Rolland, Rosalind M. (2017-09)Research into stress physiology of mysticete whales has been hampered by difficulty in obtaining repeated physiological samples from individuals over time. We investigated whether multi-year longitudinal records of ...
Werth, Alexander J.; Rita, Diego; Rosario, Michael V.; Moore, Michael J.; Sformo, Todd L. (Company of Biologists, 2018-12-04)Bowhead and right whale (balaenid) baleen filtering plates, longer in vertical dimension (≥3–4 m) than the closed mouth, presumably bend during gape closure. This has not been observed in live whales, even with scrutiny ...
Approaches for assessing the presence and impact of thyroid hormone disrupting chemicals in delphinid cetaceans Montie, Eric W. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2006-09)Cetacean blubber is a primary site for lipid storage, which the animal utilizes during periods of energetic stress. It is important to understand how the blubber responds to factors such as ontogeny, water temperature, ...