Title: Development, validation, and application of a urinary relaxin radioimmunoassay for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnancy in felids.
Authors: de Haas van Dorsser, Florine J; Swanson, William F; Lasano, Salamia; Steinetz, Bernard G
Published In Biol Reprod, (2006 Jun)
Abstract: Many nondomestic felids are highly endangered, and captive breeding programs have become essential components of holistic conservation efforts for these species. The ability to diagnose pregnancy early in gestation is fundamental to developing effective breeding programs. The purpose of this study was to develop a radioimmunoassay (RIA) for the detection of urinary relaxin in felids and assess its applicability for early, noninvasive pregnancy diagnosis in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) and leopards (Panthera pardus). Urine was collected from pregnant and nonpregnant domestic cats and leopards at mating, and then weekly thereafter for the duration of gestation. Paired serum samples were also collected from the domestic cats. A RIA for relaxin that uses an antiserum against synthetic canine relaxin was validated for felid urine and shown to detect relaxin immunoreactivity in pregnant cat urine subjected to acid-acetone extraction. In the cat, urinary relaxin was first detected between Days 21 and 28 of gestation; levels peaked at 42-49 days, and the concentrations then declined over 2 wk prior to parturition. The urinary relaxin profiles of the cat mirrored those in serum. In the leopard, urinary relaxin was first detected at Day 25-28 of gestation; levels peaked at Day 60-64 and declined in the last 3-4 wk of pregnancy. These results indicate that measurement of urinary relaxin in the cat and leopard provides a reliable method for pregnancy determination from as early as 3-4 wk of gestation. This method of pregnancy diagnosis and monitoring may prove useful in the breeding management of domestic cats and other felid and canid species, and provides a foundation for future studies on pregnancy in captive exotic carnivores.
PubMed ID: 16481588
MeSH Terms: Animals; Breeding/methods; Cats; Female; Panthera; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Tests/methods; Pregnancy Tests/veterinary*; Pregnancy, Animal/blood; Pregnancy, Animal/urine*; Radioimmunoassay/methods; Radioimmunoassay/veterinary*; Relaxin/blood; Relaxin/urine*; Reproducibility of Results; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Species Specificity