Circulating concentrations of plasma corticosterone and gonadal steroids were measured intact and gonadectomized male and female lizards (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) following acute stress (handling) in the laboratory. There was a significant increase in plasma corticosterone after stress. Whereas intact females exhibited greater concentrations of corticosterone relative to intact males, ovariectomized females exhibited lower concentrations of corticosterone relative to castrated males. In addition to sex differences in corticosterone responses to gonadectomy, progesterone was elevated by stress in both intact and ovariectomized females but not in males. Corticosterone adjusted for castration and handling in males was negatively correlated with the plasma androgen level. The adrenal responsiveness of males to acute stress may be attenuated by androgens presumably secreted by the testis. Not only does adrenal function influence reproduction, but adrenal responses differ between males and females, and appear to be influenced by the gonadal axis. The sex differences in adrenal responses to stress likely reflect different reproductive strategies and nutritional requirements of males and females during the breeding season. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology