Development And Validation Of Radioimmunoassays For Pituitary Gonadotrophic Hormones And Their Application To Reproductive Endocrinology Of The Bottlenosed Dolphin (prolactin, Fsh, Luteinizing)

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Immunocytochemical techniques were used to demonstrate that antisera to human and ovine pituitary hormones would cross react with cetacean pituitary hormones. Six hormone producing cell types were identified and described. Antisera to human follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and prolactin were then used to develop and validate heterologous radioimmunoassays for these hormones in serum samples from wild and captive bottlenosed dolphins. Baseline levels for all three hormones were determined by assaying over 200 samples. Females had significantly greater FSH and LH than did males, but no significant differences were seen in prolactin levels. While no differences were found in FSH and LH levels, wild dolphins had significantly greater prolactin than did captive ones. By dividing the samples into four population groups, samples taken in summer months were significantly greater for all three hormones than samples taken during autumn, which suggests seasonal reproductive patterns. However, since the samples were obtained incidentally from field experiments or medical examinations, these data are preliminary and need verification through experiments were sampling is controled for independent variables.


Biology, General

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