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Type: Journal article
Title: Hair cortisol and its potential value as a physiological measure of stress response in human and non-human animals
Author: Burnard, C.
Ralph, C.
Hynd, P.
Hocking Edwards, J.
Tilbrook, A.
Citation: Animal Production Science, 2017; 57(3):401-414
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1836-0939
Statement of
C. Burnard, C. Ralph, P. Hynd, J. Hocking Edwards and A. Tilbrook
Abstract: There is considerable interest in the potential for measuring cortisol in hair as a means of quantifying stress responses in human and non-human animals. This review updates the rapid advancement in our knowledge of hair cortisol, methods for its measurement, its relationship to acute and chronic stress, and its repeatability and heritability. The advantages of measuring cortisol in hair compared with other matrices such as blood, saliva and excreta and the current theories of the mechanisms of cortisol incorporation into the fibre are described. Hair cortisol as a measure of the physiological response to stress in a variety of species is presented, including correlations with other sample matrices, the relationship between hair cortisol and psychosocial stress and the repeatability and heritability of hair cortisol concentrations. Current standards for the quantification of hair cortisol are critically reviewed in detail for the first time and gaps in technical validation of these methods highlighted. The known effects of a variety of sources of hair cortisol variation are also reviewed, including hair sampling site, sex, age and adiposity. There is currently insufficient evidence to conclude that cortisol concentration in hair accurately reflects long-term blood cortisol concentrations. Similarly, there is a lack of information surrounding the mechanisms of cortisol incorporation into the hair. This review highlights several directions for future research to more fully validate the use of hair cortisol as an indicator of chronic stress.
Keywords: Biomarker; corticosteroid; wool
Rights: Journal compilation © CSIRO 2017
RMID: 0030064599
DOI: 10.1071/AN15622
Appears in Collections:Animal and Veterinary Sciences publications

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