Measurement of cortisol, cortisone and 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 activity in hair of sows during different phases of the reproductive cycle

M López-Arjona, F Tecles, S V Mateo, M D Contreras-Aguilar, S Martínez-Miró, J J Cerón, S Martínez-Subiela
Veterinary Journal 2020, 259-260: 105458
Two sensitive assays based on AlphaLISA technology were developed and validated for the measurement of cortisol and cortisone in hair of pigs, that also enabled estimation of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 activity. These assays were applied to hair samples from sows (n = 32) collected at 5 days before, and at 23 and 59 after farrowing, in reproductive cycles in two different periods: spring-summer (n = 16) and winter-spring (n = 16). The assays were precise (imprecision <12%) and accurate (recovery range, 80-115%) for cortisol and cortisone determination. Hair cortisone concentrations and the cortisone/cortisol ratio (an estimate of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase isoenzyme type 2 activity) increased after farrowing more than cortisol, being these changes of higher magnitude during periods of higher atmospheric temperature. The measurement of hair cortisone concentrations and estimations of the activity of the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase isoenzyme type 2, measured by the assays developed in this study, are complementary biomarkers to hair cortisol, and can increase at periods associated with stress, such as farrowing and lactation, especially at high atmospheric temperatures. .

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