Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Circulating anti-Müllerian hormone concentrations in relation to age and season in male and female beluga (Delphinapterus leucas)

Gisele A. Montano A B , Todd R. Robeck A , Karen J. Steinman A and Justine K. O’Brien A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Inc., SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center, 2595 Ingraham Street, San Diego, CA 92109, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: gisele.montano@seaworld.com

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 29(8) 1642-1652 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD15537
Submitted: 19 December 2015  Accepted: 7 August 2016   Published: 5 October 2016

Abstract

The present study aimed to describe serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) patterns of ex situ male and female beluga to examine the influence of age (divided into 5-year categories) or sexual maturation and reproductive season. In males aged 5–9 years, AMH concentrations were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than those in all age categories exceeding 15 years and were not influenced by season (P = 0.57). AMH concentrations in females peaked in the 5–9-year age category during the breeding season and decreased (P < 0.05) after 9 years of age. Aged females displayed lower (P < 0.05) AMH concentrations than immature and mature animals and immature females secreted higher concentrations than mature animals (P = 0.03). For mature females, seasonal differences (P = 0.02) in AMH concentrations were detected, with females in the breeding season displaying higher AMH concentrations than in the non-breeding season. This is the first time AMH has been characterised in a cetacean species and the first potential hormonal evidence of reproductive senescence in beluga. Further research is required to determine if this hormone can be used as a predictor of fertility for the species.

Additional keywords: AMH, cetacean, reproductive maturation, reproductive senescence, testosterone.


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