Maternal effects and the endocrine regulation of mandrill growth.
Maternal effects can influence offspring growth and development, and thus fitness. However, the physiological factors mediating these effects in nonhuman primates are not well understood. We investigated the impact of maternal effects on variation in three important components of the endocrine regulation of growth in male and female mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), from birth to 9 years of age. Using a mixed longitudinal set (N = 252) of plasma samples, we measured concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), growth hormone binding protein (GHBP), and free testosterone (free T). We evaluated the relationship of ontogenetic patterns of changes in hormone concentration to patterns of growth in body mass and body length, and determined that these endocrine factors play a significant role in growth of both young (infant and juvenile) and adolescent male mandrills, but only in growth of young female mandrills. We also use mixed models analysis to determine the relative contribution of the effects of maternal rank, parity, and age on variation in hormone and binding protein concentrations. Our results suggest that all of these maternal effects account for significant variation in hormone and binding protein concentrations in all male age groups. Of the maternal effects measured, maternal rank was the most frequently identified significant maternal effect on variation in hormone and binding protein concentrations. We suggest that these endocrine factors provide mechanisms that contribute to the maternal effects on offspring growth previously noted in this population.