Sex hormones play roles in determining musk composition during the early stages of musk secretion by musk deer (Moschus berezovskii)
Fan, M.; Zhang, M.; Shi, M.; Zhang, T.; Qi, L.; Yu, J.; Li, X.; Lin, S.; Huang, Z.; Yang, S.; Zhou, J.; Li, Y.; Sun, X.; Cha, M.; Xu, S.; Liu, Y.; Guo, X.; Hu, D.; Liu, S.
Endocrine Journal 65(11): 1111-1120
ISSN/ISBN: 1348-4540 PMID: 30175720 DOI: 10.1507/endocrj.ej18-0211
Musk is a secreted external hormone or information compound that is stored in musk scent glands of the males of species within the family Moschidae, such as Moschus berezovskii. The secretion of musk changes periodically during the courtship and reproduction periods, with the early stage of secretion occurring from May to July, and the maturation stage occurring from August to April of the following year. In this study, we analyzed the dynamic changes in musk components from June to April of the following year. The result showed that musk morphological character, water content, total ion chromatographic pattern, and composition undergo seasonal change. Luminescence immunoassay and radioimmunoassay analyses were performed to determine corresponding fecal hormone levels. The results showed that testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol levels in feces change on a seasonal basis, and are significantly higher in June than in other months (p < 0.01). Correlation analysis showed that the contents of four examined musk components (muscone, cyclopentadecanone, cholesterol, and cholestenol) from June to August were significantly highly negatively correlated with fecal testosterone and estradiol levels (p < 0.01). In contrast, the correlation coefficients were low or not significant from August to April of the following year. These results indicate that testosterone and estradiol may play a major role in determining musk composition during the early stage of musk secretion but not during the course of musk maturation, which suggests that musk secretion may be promoted by increases in sex hormones in June.