The neurohormone oxytocin (OT) has a broad range of behavioral effects in mammals. It modulates a multitude of social behaviors, e.g., affiliative and sexual interactions. Consequently, the OT role in various animal species is increasingly explored. However, several issues have been raised regarding the peripheral OT measurement. Indeed, various methods have been described, leading to assay discrepancies and inconsistent results. This highlights the need for a recognized and reliable method to measure peripheral OT. Our aim was to validate a method combining a pre-extraction step, previously demonstrated as essential by several authors, and a commercially available enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for OT measurement, using plasma from seven domestic species (cat, dog, horse, cow, pig, sheep, and goat). The Oxytocin EIA kit (EnzoLifeSciences) was used to assay the solid-phase extracted samples following the manufacturer's instructions with slight modifications. For all species except dogs and cats, concentration factors were applied to work above the kit's sensitivity (15 pg/ml). To validate the method, the following performance characteristics were evaluated using Validation Samples (VS) at various concentrations in each species: extraction efficiency via spiking tests and intra- and inter-assay precision, allowing for the calculation of total errors. Parallelism studies to assess matrix effects could not be performed because of too low basal concentrations. Quantification ranges and associated precision profiles were established to account for the various OT plasma concentrations in each species. According to guidelines for bioanalytical validation of immunoassays, the measurements were sufficiently precise and accurate in each species to achieve a total error ≤30% in each VS sample. In each species, the inter-assay precision after 3 runs was acceptable, except in low concentration samples. The linearity under dilution of dogs and cats' samples was verified. Although matrix effects assessments are lacking, our results indicate that OT plasma levels can reliably be measured in several domestic animal species by the method described here. Studies involving samples with low OT plasma concentrations should pay attention to reproducibility issues. This work opens new perspectives to reliably study peripheral OT in a substantial number of domestic animal species in various behavioral contexts.
|Publication Title||Frontiers in Neuroscience|
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