A generalized fecal glucocorticoid assay for use in a diverse array of nondomestic mammalian and avian species

Samuel K. Wasser, Kathleen E. Hunt, Janine L. Brown, Kathy Cooper, Carolyn M. Crockett, Ursula Bechert, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Shawn Larson, Steven L. Monfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

553 Scopus citations


Noninvasive fecal glucocorticoid analysis has tremendous potential as a means of assessing stress associated with environmental disturbance in wildlife. However, interspecific variation in excreted glucocorticoid metabolites requires careful selection of the antibody used in their quantification. We compared four antibodies for detecting the major fecal cortisol metabolites in yellow baboons following 3H cortisol administration, ACTH challenge, and HPLC separation of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites. The most effective antibody (ICN corticosterone RIA; Cat. No. 07-120102) demonstrated relatively high cross-reactivities to the major cortisol metabolites present in feces during peak excretion, following both radiolabel infusion and ACTH challenge. This same antibody also detected increased fecal glucocorticoid metabolites after ACTH administration in the African elephant, black rhinoceros, Roosevelt elk, gerenuk, scimitarhorned oryx, Alaskan sea otter, Malayan sun bear, cheetah, clouded leopard, longtailed macaque, and northern spotted owl. Results suggest that (1) fecal glucocorticoid assays reliably detect endogenous changes in adrenal activity of a diverse array of species and (2) where comparisons were made, the ICN corticosterone antibody generally was superior to other antibodies for measuring glucocorticoid metabolites in feces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-275
Number of pages16
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • ACTH
  • Adrenal activation
  • Feces
  • Glucocorticoids
  • HPLC
  • Noninvasive measures
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Stress physiology
  • Wildlife species


Dive into the research topics of 'A generalized fecal glucocorticoid assay for use in a diverse array of nondomestic mammalian and avian species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this