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  • Author: R. D. HODGES x
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In a series of epididymides obtained from infertile men, a number of specimens were found to possess malformations of the duct epithelium. These consisted of epithelial vesicles and/or epithelial hyperplasia and frequently gave rise to considerable disruption of the epithelium. The probable sequence of development of the intra-epithelial vesicles from vacuolated basal cells to large vesicles and their subsequent degeneration has been described. The possible causes of these defects are discussed in the light of previous findings in animals.

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W. V. Holt, H. D. M. Moore, R. D. North, T. D. Hartman and J. K. Hodges

Summary. Hormonal detection of urinary pregnanediol-3α-glucuronide proved an effective method of monitoring the progress of oestrous cycles in the blackbuck; observation of sexual behaviour in a vasectomized male was, however, a more practical procedure. Good correlation was observed between the occurrence of minimal pregnanediol concentrations in females and the maximal behavioural response by the male. On the basis of intervals between periods of behaviourally detected oestrus, a mean cycle length of 16·9 days (± 0·62, s.e.m.) was derived from 12 cycles (4 animals).

Eleven females were inseminated in this study, 8 with freshly collected semen and 3 with frozen semen; 6 calves were obtained, 1 after the use of frozen semen. Pregnancy was monitored by measurements of pregnanediol-3α-glucuronide excretion and by ultrasound scanning. The mean interval between insemination and parturition was 183·3 days inclusive, ranging from 182 to 186 days.

Keywords: blackbuck; artificial insemination; oestrous cycles; oestrus detection; pregnancy

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A. S. McNeilly, R. D. Martin, J. K. Hodges and G. L. Smuts

Summary. No seasonal variation in any of the hormones measured was apparent in males or females. Testosterone levels in males increased around puberty (10–11 years) and remained significantly higher in adult than prepubertal males. This was not accompanied by any significant change in levels of LH, FSH or prolactin.

In non-pregnant females there was no apparent difference in levels of LH, FSH or prolactin with age. There was a significant increase in progesterone around puberty (12 years) but there was considerable overlap in values between prepubertal and adult females.

During pregnancy, progesterone levels were significantly higher than in non-pregnant females with maximum levels occurring at mid-pregnancy (9–12 months). However, there was considerable overlap in values between non-pregnancy and pregnancy. Concentrations of LH and FSH decreased significantly during mid-pregnancy while prolactin levels increased dramatically during pregnancy; after 7 months of gestation until term levels were always at least 8 ng/ml greater than in any non-pregnant female. It is suggested that this consistent increase in plasma/serum levels of prolactin can be used to diagnose pregnancy in the elephant.