The aims of this study were to validate an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for the measurement of luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine samples of Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis; Mammalia: Sirenia) and to monitor urinary LH and reproductive steroids during the ovarian cycle in this species. Urine samples were collected from two captive males following a hormonal challenge with a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogue. The urinary LH results from hormonal challenge were compared with urinary androgens for the purpose of EIA validation. Furthermore, urine samples were collected daily, over a 12-wk period, from two captive adult females, for 2 consecutive yr. The urinary LH pattern from females was compared with the patterns of urinary progestagens and estrogen conjugates throughout the ovarian cycle. An LH peak was observed in both male Amazonian manatees after the hormonal challenge, occurring prior to or together with peak androgen levels. In the females, the ovarian cycle ranged from 40 to 48 days (mean of 43.7 days). Two distinct peaks of estrogen conjugates were observed across all cycles analyzed, and the urinary LH peaks observed were accompanied by peaks of urinary estrogen conjugates. The EIA was validated as a method for the quantification of urinary LH from Amazonian manatees, as it was able to detect variations in the levels of LH in urine samples. These results suggest that T. inunguis exhibits a peculiar hormonal pattern during the ovarian cycle. Therefore, further studies are desirable and necessary to clarify the relationship between this hormonal pattern and morphological changes, as well as mating behavior, in Amazonian manatee.
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