2014 RESEARCH GRANT UPDATE

Ned J. Place, MD, PhD

Anti-Mullerian hormone in cheetahs: optimizing reproductive management

Ned J. Place, MD, PhD

Dr. Ned Place is working to improve captive cheetah breeding programs to help threatened populations of these animals bounce back from the brink. Place’s studies focus on anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), which is produced by maturing follicles in the ovaries of female cats and other mammals. Oocytes (eggs) are contained within follicles, and as animals age and the number of follicles steadily declines, so, too, does the amount of AMH in the female’s bloodstream.

Place found that AMH concentrations in the blood had a strong inverse relationship with cheetah age, that is, young adult female cheetahs had the highest AMH concentrations and old cheetahs had the lowest. With this information in hand, knowing a cat’s AMH could help predict which cheetah females might start losing fertility at a relatively young age and which are the best candidates for a breeding program. Place is now working with Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, to acquire archived cheetah serum samples to determine if the rate of AMH decline over several years differs among cheetahs.