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Gen Comp Endocrinol 2023 Aug 01;339:114291. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2023.114291.
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Baseline corticosterone levels in spadefoot toads reflect alternate larval diets one year later.

Ledón-Rettig CC , Lo KM , Lagon SR .

Early-life environmental variation can influence later-life physiology, such as the regulation of glucocorticoids. However, characterizing the effects of environmental factors on hormone regulation can be hampered when assessing animals that are small and require destructive sampling to collect blood. Using spadefoot toads (genus Spea), we evaluated whether waterborne corticosterone (CORT) measures could be used as a proxy for plasma CORT measures, detect stress-induced levels of CORT, and detect larval diet-induced changes in CORT regulation after metamorphosed individuals were maintained for 1 year under common garden conditions. We found that waterborne CORT measures were correlated with plasma CORT measures and could be used to detect stress-induced levels of CORT. Further, larval diet type significantly influenced baseline plasma CORT levels 1-year post-metamorphosis: adults that had consumed live prey as larvae had higher plasma CORT levels than adults that had consumed detritus as larvae. However, waterborne measures failed to reflect these differences, possibly due to low sample size. Our study demonstrates the utility of the waterborne hormone assay in assessing variation in baseline and stress-induced CORT levels in adult spadefoots. However, resolving more subtle differences that arise through developmental plasticity will require larger samples sizes when using the waterborne assay.

PubMed ID: 37094616
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Genes referenced: pigy
GO keywords: regulation of glucocorticoid secretion

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