Simple teaching experiments demonstrating endocrinological concepts are difficult to come by. I discuss a simple experiment demonstrating control of cutaneous drinking by the hormone angiotensin II in terrestrial toads, designed after methods published in the primary literature and presented herein to make this exercise more widely accessible to ABT readers. This experiment is notable in that it (1) permits students to quantify both a physiological and a behavioral response to exogenous hormone administration; (2) can be implemented in relatively small class sizes; (3) does not require animal euthanasia; and (4) can be accomplished in one class period. Furthermore, data collection can be easily carried out by students using common laboratory supplies, and analysis and interpretation of the collected data are straightforward. Finally, in demonstrating the function of the highly conserved renin-angiotensinaldosterone system, this hands-on experiment has obvious clinical connections relevant to human medicine (e.g., blood-pressure regulation and treatment of hypertension).
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Vol. 78 • No. 8