Reproduction of captive elephants in zoos has shown a low fecundity and requires improvement. One of the reasons for low fecundity is ovarian dysfunction in many female elephants. To investigate whether prolactin has a correlation with ovarian function in female elephants, the serum concentrations of prolactin, progesterone and estradiol-17β in four African female elephants (one cycling female and three non-cycling female elephants) were measured. Cyclic patterns of prolactin and estradiol-17β were observed in the cycling female elephant, which tended to be high during the follicular phase and low during the luteal phase. On the other hand, a cyclic pattern of prolactin was not observed in the non-cycling female elephants. One of the three non-cycling females (Mako) had developed breasts and showed significantly higher average levels of prolactin than the other female elephants. These results suggested that high concentrations of circulating estradiol-17β during the follicular phase stimulated prolactin secretion. They also suggested that hyperprolactinemia in Mako was one of the causes of the developed mammary glands and ovarian dysfunction.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Medical Science|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2010|
- African elephant
- Estrous cycle
- Ovarian function
ASJC Scopus subject areas