Describing Ovarian Cycles, Pregnancy Characteristics, and the Use of Contraception in Female White-Faced Marmosets, Callithrix geoffroyi

Aaryn C. Mustoe, Heather A. Jensen, Jeffrey A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Endocrine data and characteristics of nonconceptive ovarian cycling and pregnancy are limited within the genus Callithrix to the common marmoset (C. jacchus) and Wied's black tufted-ear marmoset (C. kuhlii). This article presents patterns of urinary pregnanediol-3-glucuronide (PdG) excretion, as determined by enzyme immunoassay, throughout the course of ovarian cycling and pregnancy in white-faced marmosets (C. geoffroyi). Furthermore, characteristics of reproductive parameters including litter size, duration of gestation, maternal age, and information about ovarian cycling following administration of contraceptives are also described. A steep increase in PdG, an indication of ovulation, characterizes normative ovarian cycles, with peak-to-peak intervals between cycles being 27.82 ± 1.49 days in length. PdG excretion (μg/mg Cr) across pregnancy peaked during the 1st and 2nd trimesters (1st = 20.71 ± 2.98, 2nd = 21.16 ± 2.60) and declined gradually to near preconception levels over the 3rd trimester until parturition (3rd = 5.74 ± 1.60). Gestation lasted 148.55 ± 1.89 days. Most pregnancies (82.8%) resulted in an immediate postpartum ovulation (PPO) of 17.45 ± 2.22 days with 58.3% of PPOs resulting in conception. No differences in PdG excretion during the 1st trimester between full pregnancies and miscarriages were found, and pregnancy characteristics such as litter size, duration of gestation, and maternal age were not associated with PdG concentrations. Administration of cloprostenol resulted in shorter peak-to-peak cycle durations, but ovulation was detectable with similar concentrations of peak PdG to a normal nonconceptive cycle. Conversely, medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) injections resulted in little to no PdG excretion across the ovarian cycle. Both methods of contraception providing effective prevention of conception. Overall, these results show that strong similarities in reproductive parameters persist within the genus Callithrix and to a lesser extent across the Callitrichidae family.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1053
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnanediol-3-glucuronide (PdG)
  • Primates
  • Reproduction
  • White-faced marmoset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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