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Asian Elephants

Research

Campos Arceiz, A., A.R. Larrinaga, U.R. Weerasinghe, S. Takatsuki, J. Pastorini, P. Leimgruber, P. Fernando, and L. Santamaria (2008). Behavior rather than diet mediates seasonal differences in seed dispersal by Asian elephants. Ecology 89(10): 2684-2691. ISSN: 0012-9658.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/07-1573.1
Abstract: Digestive physiology and movement patterns of animal dispersers determine deposition patterns for endozoochorously dispersed seeds. We combined data from feeding trials, germination tests, and GPS telemetry of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) to (1) describe the spatial scale at which Asian elephants disperse seeds; (2) assess whether seasonal differences in diet composition and ranging behavior translate into differences in seed shadows; and (3) evaluate whether scale and seasonal patterns vary between two ecologically distinct areas: Sri Lanka's dry monsoon forests and Myanmar's (Burma) mixed-deciduous forests. The combination of seed retention times (mean 39.5 h, maximum 114 h) and elephant displacement rates (average 1988 m in 116 hours) resulted in 50% of seeds dispersed over 1.2 km (mean 1222-2105 m, maximum 5772 m). Shifts in diet composition did not affect gut retention time and germination of ingested seeds. Elephant displacements were slightly longer, with stronger seasonal variation in Myanmar. As a consequence, seed dispersal curves varied seasonally with longer distances during the dry season in Myanmar but not in Sri Lanka. Seasonal and geographic variation in seed dispersal curves was the result of variation in elephant movement patterns, rather than the effect of diet changes on the fate of ingested seeds. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, seed dispersal, seed germination, spatial variation.

Clauss, M., Y. Wang, K. Ghebremeskel, C.E. Lendl, and W.J. Streich (2003). Plasma and erythrocyte fatty acids in captive Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants. Veterinary Record 153(2): 54-8.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 V641
Abstract: The fatty acid components of the plasma triglycerides and the phospholipid fractions of the red blood cells of a captive group of two African (Loxodonta africana) and four Asian (Elephas maximus) elephants were investigated. All the animals received the same diet of hay, fruits and vegetables, and concentrates. A comparison with data from free-ranging African elephants or Asian work-camp elephants showed that the captive elephants had lower proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and for several lipid fractions a higher n-6:n-3 ratio, than their counterparts in the wild or under the more natural, in terms of diet, work-camp conditions. The difference in PUFA content was smaller in the African than in the Asian elephants. The captive Asian elephants tended to have lower levels of n-3 and total unsaturated fatty acids in their red blood cells than the captive African elephants.
Descriptors: metabolism, erythrocytes metabolism, unsaturated metabolism fatty acids, phospholipids metabolism, triglycerides metabolism, zoo animals, blood chemical analysis, diet, blood, unsaturated blood fatty acids, triglycerides blood, workload.

Dahl, N.J., D. Olson, D.L. Schmitt, D.R. Blasko, R.S. Kristipati, and J.F. Roser (2004). Development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for luteinizing hormone (LH) in the elephant (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus). Zoo Biology 23(1): 65-78. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: African elephant, Asian elephant, ELISA, luteinizing hormone, enzyme-linked immunosorobent assay, LH, development.

Dehnhard, M. (2007). Characterisation of the sympathetic nervous system of Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants based on urinary catecholamine analyses. General and Comparative Endocrinology 151(3): 274-284. ISSN: (p) 0016-6480; (E) 1095-6840.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.01.001
Abstract: Assessing the welfare status of captive animals using non-invasive measurements of hormones is of growing interest because this can serve as an effective tool to facilitate the optimization of environmental and husbandry conditions. Both the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) exhibit extremely low breeding success in captivity, and because elevated levels of stress may negatively influence reproductive functions, this study sought to establish a method for assessing sympathoadrenal activity in captive female elephants. We found a circadian variation in urinary noradrenaline (norepinephrine, NE), adrenaline (epinephrine, Epi) and dopamine (DA) under short day length. Peak activity of noradrenaline and dopamine was noted at 3 a.m. Adrenaline showed a biphasic pattern with a minor peak recorded at 3 a.m. and a major peak 9 a.m. Under long-day photoperiodic conditions, simultaneous peaks of noradrenaline and adrenaline were again noted at 3 a.m. whereas dopamine does not appear to have a distinct circadian pattern under long-day length. A transfer of two elephant cows resulted in a marked increase in urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline levels, confirming that the transfer represented a stressful event. During the peripartal period, noradrenaline concentrations increased and maximum concentrations were obtained at delivery. Daily measurements of urinary dopamine throughout the follicular phase revealed an increase in dopamine secretion close to ovulation. This increase might indicate a role of dopamine in the ovulatory mechanisms. These results suggest that changes in urinary catecholamine excretion reflect fluctuations in sympathoadrenal activity and may be a useful indicator of stress. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: animal welfare, catecholamines, circadian rhythm, diurnal variation, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, reproductive performance, stress, sympathetic nervous system, urine, zoo animals, Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, African elephant, Loxodonta africana.

Dehnhard, M., J.M. Hatt, K. Eulenberger, A. Ochs, and G. Strauss (2003). Headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for the determination of 5alpha-androst-2-en-17-one and -17beta-ol in the female Asian elephant: application for reproductive monitoring and prediction of parturition. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 84(2-3): 383-91.
NAL Call Number: QD426.A1J6
Abstract: Asian elephants are not self-sustaining in captivity. The main reasons for this phenomenon are a low birth rate, an aging population, and poor calf-rearing. Therefore, it is essential that reproductive rates had to be improved and there is need for rapid quantitative measures to monitor reproductive functions focussing on estrous detection and the prediction of the period of parturition. The objective of this study was to develop a method which combines headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for analyses of 5alpha-androst-2-en-17beta-ol and -17-one to prognose estrous and to predict the period of parturition. SPME was carried out with a CTC Combi Pal system.The course of the luteal phase-specific substance 5alpha-androst-2-en-17beta-ol and -17-one followed a cyclic pattern in which the follicular and luteal phases could be clearly distinguished (mean estrous cycle length, 15+/-1.4 weeks). Based on daily urine samples, estrous prognosis might be possibly based on the initial 5alpha-androst-2-en-17beta-o1 increase at the end of the follicular phase. Parturition prognosis was performed in three elephant cows based on the 5alpha-androst-2-en-17beta-o1 drop to baseline levels 5-4 days prior parturition. Experiments revealed that 5alpha-androst-3alpha-ol-17-one and probably 5alpha-androst-3alpha-ol-17beta-ol are generated from sulfate conjugates by a thermal process.
Descriptors: androstane 3,17 diol blood, androsterone blood, chemistry, clinical methods, mass fragmentography methods, parturition blood, chromatography, gas, estrous cycle, pregnancy, animal blood, temperature, time factors.

Duer, C., M. Carden, and T. Tomasi (2007). Detection of fetal gender differences in maternal serum progesterone concentrations of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Animal Reproduction Science 97(3/4): 278-283. ISSN: 0378-4320.
Abstract: Previous studies have analysed total testosterone concentrations in maternal serum for a reliable method of fetal gender determination in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The present study investigated the possibility that progesterone concentrations in maternal serum may reflect these testosterone patterns. Weekly serum samples were collected from 17 pregnancies in captive Asian elephants and analysed via radioimmunioassy (RIA) for progesterone concentrations. Nine and eight cows carried male and female calves, respectively. Mean progesterone concentrations in maternal serum of elephants carrying male calves were greater than in those carrying female calves (P<0.01). Mean progesterone concentrations (based on 5-week means) in maternal serum were greater at weeks 20-55 (P<0.01) and 60-65 (P<0.05) for elephants carrying male calves. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, pregnancy, progesterone, sex determination, sex differences, testosterone.

Faust, L.J, S.D. Thompson, J.M. Earnhardt (2006). Is reversing the decline of Asian elephants in North American zoos possible? An individual-based modeling approach. Zoo Biology 25(3): 201-218. ISSN: 0733-3188.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/zoo.20054
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: Elephas maximus, zoo animals, population dynamics, population structure, simulation models, stochastic processes, mortality, fecundity, animal reproduction, animal husbandry, North America, captive elephants, population decline, demographic models, individual based stochastic models.

Fickel, J., D. Lieckfeldt, L.K. Richman, W.J. Streich, T.B. Hildebrandt, and C. Pitra (2003). Comparison of glycoprotein B (gB) variants of the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) isolated from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Veterinary Microbiology 91(1): 11-21. ISSN: 0378-1135.
NAL Call Number: SF601.V44
Abstract: The recently described elephant endotheliotropic herpesviruses (EEHV) have been associated with the deaths of numerous captive elephants. A proposed tool for the detection of EEHV infection in elephants is the PCR-based screening for EEHV-DNA in whole blood samples. Unfortunately, this detection method has only been successful in post-mortem analyses or in animals already displaying clinical signs of EEHV disease, thus rendering this method unsuitable for identification of carrier elephants. Here, we focus on glycoprotein B (gB) for serologic assay development, since gB is an envelope protein known to induce a neutralising antibody response in other herpesvirus infections. We sequenced the entire gB gene from five Asian elephants with EEHV, representing four different gB variants. Computer-aided methods were used to predict functionally important regions within EEHVgB. An extra-cytoplasmic region of 153 amino acids was predicted to be under positive selection and may potentially contain antigenic determinants that will be useful for future serologic assay development.
Descriptors: Elephas maximus, viral proteins, glycoproteins, disease transmission, detection, polymerase chain reaction, cytoplasm, amino acid sequences, molecular sequence data.

Greenwood, A.D., C.C. Englbrecht, and R.D. MacPhee (2004). Characterization of an endogenous retrovirus class in elephants and their relatives. BMC Evolutionary Biology 4(1): 38.
NAL Call Number: QH359.B63
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Endogenous retrovirus-like elements (ERV-Ls, primed with tRNA leucine) are a diverse group of reiterated sequences related to foamy viruses and widely distributed among mammals. As shown in previous investigations, in many primates and rodents this class of elements has remained transpositionally active, as reflected by increased copy number and high sequence diversity within and among taxa. RESULTS: Here we examine whether proviral-like sequences may be suitable molecular probes for investigating the phylogeny of groups known to have high element diversity. As a test we characterized ERV-Ls occurring in a sample of extant members of superorder Uranotheria (Asian and African elephants, manatees, and hyraxes). The ERV-L complement in this group is even more diverse than previously suspected, and there is sequence evidence for active expansion, particularly in elephantids. Many of the elements characterized have protein coding potential suggestive of activity. CONCLUSIONS: In general, the evidence supports the hypothesis that the complement had a single origin within basal Uranotheria.
Descriptors: genetics, virology, endogenous retroviruses classification, endogenous retroviruses genetics, Africa, Asia, molecular cloning methods, viral DNA genetics, hyraxes genetics, hyraxes virology, mice, molecular sequence data, phylogeny, proteins genetics, retroelements genetics, Trichechus genetics, Trichechus virology.

Greenwood, D.R., D. Comeskey, M.B. Hunt, and L.E. Rasmussen (2005). Chemical communication: chirality in elephant pheromones. Nature 438(7071): 1097-8.
NAL Call Number: 472 N21
Abstract: Musth in male elephants is an annual period of heightened sexual activity and aggression that is linked to physical, sexual and social maturation. It is mediated by the release of chemical signals such as the pheromone frontalin, which exists in two chiral forms (molecular mirror images, or enantiomers). Here we show that enantiomers of frontalin are released by Asian elephants in a specific ratio that depends on the animal's age and stage of musth, and that different responses are elicited in male and female conspecifics when the ratio alters. This precise control of communication by molecular chirality offers insight into societal interactions in elephants, and may be useful in implementing new conservation protocols.
Descriptors: heterocyclic chemistry of bicyclo compounds, heterocyclic pharmacology of bicyclo compounds, physiology, pheromones chemistry, pheromones secretion, drug effects on animal sex behavior, aging physiology, heterocyclic metabolism of bicyclo compounds, pheromones pharmacology, sex behavior, animal physiology, stereoisomerism.

Hildebrandt, T.B., R. Hermes, P. Ratanakorn, W. Rietschel, J. Fickel, R. Frey, G. Wibbelt, C. Reid, and F. Goritz (2005). Ultrasonographic assessment and ultrasound-guided biopsy of the retropharyngeal lymph nodes in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Veterinary Record 157(18): 544-8.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 V641
Abstract: Endotheliotropic herpesvirus causes a fatal disease in young Asian elephants, but there are no methods for identifying latent carriers of the virus. During the postmortem study of one female African elephant and three male and two female Asian elephants, a lymph node located bilaterally caudoventral to the parotid gland, approximately 1.5 to 5 cm below the skin, was identified as suitable for transcutaneous ultrasound-guided biopsy. An ultrasonographic assessment and two biopsies were performed on 39 Asian elephants, and these lymph nodes were classified ultrasonographically as active, inactive or chronically active. The calculated mean (se) volume of 10 active lymph nodes was 17.4 (6.9) cm(3), and that of three chronically active lymph nodes was 10.6 (1.0) cm(3), whereas the mean volume of 17 inactive lymph nodes was 3.1 (0.6) cm(3). The presence of lymph node tissue in samples obtained by ultrasound-guided biopsy from three animals that were maintained under conditions that allowed for additional sampling was confirmed histologically. The dna extracted from the lymphoid tissue and the whole blood of all the elephants was negative for endotheliotropic herpesvirus by PCR.
Descriptors: DNA viral isolation and purification, herpesviridae isolation and purification, herpesviridae infections, lymph nodes pathology, zoo animals, fine needle biopsy methods, disease reservoirs, disease reservoirs virology, Herpesviridae pathogenicity, Herpesviridae infections epidemiology, Herpesviridae infections pathology, lymph nodes ultrasonography, lymph nodes virology, polymerase chain reaction, prevalence, virus latency.

Kilgallon, C., E. Flach, W. Boardman, A. Routh, T. Strike, and B. Jackson (2008). Analysis of biochemical markers of bone metabolism in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 39(4): 527-536. ISSN: 1042-7260.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1638/2006-0024.1
Abstract: Two human enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and one radioimmunoassay (RIA) were validated and used to measure osteocalcin (OC), bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP), and the cross-linked telopeptide domain of type I collagen (ICTP), in serum from Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Sera from four adult females sampled on 7 consecutive days were also analyzed to assess the existence and magnitude of intraindividual day-to-day variability of the serum concentration of these markers. Sample dilution curves were parallel with assay standard curves, which demonstrated that excellent cross reactivity existed between assay antibodies and elephants marker antigens. Statistically significant inverse correlations were found between age and concentrations of all three markers: BAP, r=-0.862 (P<0.01); OC, r=-0.788 (P<0.002); and ICTP, r=-0.848 (P<0.01). Strong positive correlations were found between BAP and OC (r=0.797, P<0.01), OC and ICTP (r=0.860, P<0.01), and between BAP and ICTP (r=0.958, P<0.01). No statistically significant intraindividual variability was found over 7 days in the four adult females for any of the markers assessed (OC: P=0.089; ICTP: P=0.642; BAP: P=0.146; n=4 in each case). The overall coefficient of variability observed in this group of animals was 10.3%, 7.4%, and 5.5% for OC, BAP, and ICTP, respectively. These results suggest a potential role for biochemical markers of bone turnover in monitoring skeletal health and bone disease in Asian elephants. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, alkaline phosphatase, antibodies, antigens, biochemical markers, blood serum, bone density, bone diseases, bones, collagen, cross reaction, enzyme immunoassay, enzymes, immunoassay, metabolism, osteocalcin, radioimmunoassay.

Kongrit, C., C. Siripunkaw, W.Y. Brockelman, V. Akkarapatumwong, T.F. Wright, and L.S. Eggert (2008). Isolation and characterization of dinucleotide microsatellite loci in the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Molecular Ecology Resources 8(1): 175-177. ISSN: 1471-8278.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-8286.2007.01916.x
NAL Call Number: QH541.15 .M632
Abstract: The endangered Asian elephant is found today primarily in protected areas. We characterized 18 dinucleotide microsatellite loci in this species. Allelic diversity ranged from three to eight per locus, and observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.200 to 0.842 in a wild population. All loci were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, but linkage disequilibrium was detected between two loci in the wild, but not in the zoo elephants. These loci will be useful for the population-level studies of this species. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, microsatellite repeats, noninvasive, population studies, conservation.

Lamps, L.W., B.R. Smoller, T.E. Goodwin, and L.E.L. Rasmussen (2004). Hormone receptor expression in interdigital glands of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Zoo Biology 23(5): 463-469. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: Asian elephant, interdigital glands, hormone receptor, expression, Elephas maximus.

Landolfi, J.A., S.A. Schultz, S.K. Mikota, and K.A. Terio (2009). Development and validation of cytokine quantitative, real time RT-PCR assays for characterization of Asian elephant immune responses. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 131(1/2): 73-78. ISSN: 0165-2427.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2009.03.012
Abstract: Infectious disease is an important factor in Asian elephant health and long-term species survival. In studying disease pathogenesis, it is important to consider not only the pathogen, but also the effectiveness of the host immune response. Currently, there is a paucity of information available on elephant immune function. Measurement of cytokine levels within clinical samples can provide valuable information regarding immune function during health and disease that may elucidate disease susceptibility. To develop tools for assessment of elephant immune function, Asian elephant partial mRNA sequences for interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12, interferon (IFN)- gamma , tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- alpha , transforming growth factor (TGF)- beta , glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), and beta -actin were determined. Sequence information was then utilized to design elephant-specific primers and probes for quantitative, real time, RT-PCR assays for the measurement of cytokine mRNA. Greater than 300 bps of Asian elephant mRNA sequence were determined for each cytokine of interest. Consistent and reproducible, real time, RT-PCR assays with efficiencies of greater than 93% were also developed. Assay sensitivities ranged from less than 1 to 5000 DNA copies with the exception of IL-12, which had a sensitivity of 42,200 copies. Employment of molecular techniques utilizing mRNA-based detection systems, such as real time, RT-PCR, facilitate sensitive and specific cytokine detection and measurement in samples from species for which commercial reagents are not available. Future studies utilizing these techniques to compare elephant immune function during health and in the face of infection will be useful for characterizing the contribution of the elephant immune system to disease. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, characterization, cytokines, DNA, enzymes, glyceraldehyde, growth factors, health, hosts, immune response, immune system, immunology, infectious diseases, interferon, interleukin 10, interleukins, measurement, messenger RNA, necrosis, pathogenesis, polymerase chain reaction, transforming growth factor, tumor necrosis factor.

Lazar, J., L.E. Rasmussen, D.R. Greenwood, I.S. Bang, and G.D. Prestwich (2004). Elephant albumin: a multipurpose pheromone shuttle. Chemistry and Biology 11(8): 1093-100.
Abstract: (Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate (Z7-12:Ac) is present in the urine of female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) approaching ovulation and functions as a female-to-male sex pheromone. Here we show that a significant fraction of the pheromone in the urine is bound to a protein, elephant serum albumin (ESA), and provide evidence for key physiological functions of urinary ESA. Our biochemical and behavioral experiments suggest a three-fold role of ESA in pheromone signaling: (1) transporting Z7-12:Ac from serum into urine; (2) extending the presence of the pheromone in the environment without hampering detection; and (3) targeting pheromone delivery to chemosensory organs through localized release of the ligand induced by a pH change. The exploitation of albumin in pheromone transport clearly distinguishes the elephant from other mammals studied, and complements the uniqueness of elephant anatomy, physiology, and behavior.
Descriptors: acetates metabolism, albumins metabolism, pheromones metabolism, acetates urine, albumins chemistry, albumins genetics, biological availability, biological transport, cloning, molecular, hydrogen ion concentration, molecular structure, pheromones urine, substrate specificity, time factors, urine chemistry.

Lin Liu, Feng LiMin, Pan WenJing, Guo XianMing, Zhao JianWei, Luo AiDong, and Zhang Li (2008). Habitat selection and the change in distribution of Asian elephants in Mengyang Protected Area, Yunnan, China. Acta Theriologica 53(4): 365-374. ISSN: 0001-7051.
Abstract: Elephants were confined to Mengyang Protected Area in China and their distribution range had reduced greatly compared to past records. A preliminary study of habitat selection by Asian elephants Elephas maximus and their distribution was conducted in Mengyang Protected Area and its surrounding areas using site visits and transect surveys from July 2003 to December 2006. Although no variable significantly influenced their habitat selection, elephants still showed preference for altitudes between 900 and 1200 m, gradients <30 degrees and orientations to the south-east, south and south-west. Human activities, including habitat transformation and degradation, disturbance by large infrastructure and poaching were considered to be the main factors inducing elephant distribution changes. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, behavior, animal ecology, habitat selection, human activity, spatial distribution, wildlife management.

Pradhan, N.M.B., P. Wegge, and S.R. Moe (2007). How does a recolonizing population of Asian elephants affect the forest habitat. Journal of Zoology 273(2): 183-191. ISSN: 0952-8369; Online: 1469-7998.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2007.00313.x
NAL Call Number: QL1.J68
Abstract: The Asian elephant Elephas maximus is currently re-colonizing the Bardia National Park in lowland Nepal. We studied their impact on woody vegetation in the nutrient-rich floodplain and in the relatively nutrient-poor sal forest. The types and extent of tree impact were recorded along fixed-width transects (335 km). Species composition, density and size classes >=8 cm diameter breast height (dbh) were recorded in 15-m radius random plots (n=95). Impact was higher in the floodplain complex than in the sal-dominated forest. Our hypothesis that elephants were more selective on species in the nutrient-poor sal forest was only partly supported; the niche breadth of impacted trees was slightly higher in the floodplain complex. Pushed-over trees accounted for the highest proportion of impact (55%), followed by killed trees (39%). Of the pushed trees, 10% were not used for food. Among food trees, elephants selectively impacted size class 12-16 cm dbh, whereas non-food trees were impacted independently of size. A large proportion of the freshly browsed trees had been felled previously, indicating that most felled trees survived, enabling elephants to feed on them again. This may reflect an evolutionary adaptation among long-lived species with high site fidelity. Owing to preferential use but low abundance, two species in sal forest, Grewia spp. and Desmodium oojeinense, were found to be particularly vulnerable to local extinction due to elephants. Although the elephants had impacted a large number of species (62, 73% of all), 56.4% of the impacted trees consisted of Mallotus phillippinensis. A recently observed increase in the density of M. phillippinensis and the concurrent reduction of the hardly utilized Shorea robusta indicates that the rapidly growing elephant population may modify the composition of the forest by increasing its preferred food species. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, Asia, Nepal, alluvial-floodplain, Mallotus phillippinensis, megaherbivores, sal forest, tree impact.

Rasmussen, L.E. and D.R. Greenwood (2003). Frontalin: a chemical message of musth in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Chemical Senses 28(5): 433-46.
NAL Call Number: QP456.C5
Abstract: Musth is an important male phenomenon affecting many aspects of elephant society including reproduction. During musth, the temporal gland secretions (as well as the urine and breath) of adult male Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) discharge a variety of malodorous compounds together with the bicyclic ketal, frontalin. In contrast, teenage male elephants in musth release a sweet-smelling exudate from their facial temporal gland. We recently demonstrated that the concentration of frontalin becomes increasingly evident as male elephants mature. In the present study, we demonstrate that behaviors exhibited towards frontalin are consistent and dependent on the sex, developmental stage and physiological status of the responding conspecific individual. To examine whether frontalin functions as a chemical signal, perhaps even a pheromone, we bioassayed older and younger adult males, and luteal- and follicular-phase and pregnant females for their chemosensory and behavioral responses to frontalin. Adult males were mostly indifferent to frontalin, whereas subadult males were highly reactive, often exhibiting repulsion or avoidance. Female chemosensory responses to frontalin varied with hormonal state. Females in the luteal phase demonstrated low frequencies of responses, whereas pregnant females responded significantly more frequently, with varied types of responses including those to the palatal pits. Females in the follicular phase were the most responsive and often demonstrated mating-related behaviors subsequent to high chemosensory responses to frontalin. Our evidence strongly suggests that frontalin, a well-studied pheromone in insects, also functions as a pheromone in the Asian elephant: it exhibits all of the determinants that define a pheromone and evidently conveys some of the messages underlying the phenomenon of musth.
Descriptors: bicyclo compounds, heterocyclic pharmacology, physiology, aging physiology, Asia, drug effects on behavior, heterocyclic urine, buffers, urine, pheromones pharmacology, pheromones in urine, drug effects on sex behavior, sex characteristics, smell.

Ren, L. and J.R. Hutchinson (2008). The three dimensional locomotor dynamics of African (Loxodonta africana) and Asian (Eelephas maximus) elephants reveal a smooth gait transition at moderate speed. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 5(19): 195-211. ISSN: 1742-5689; Online: 1742-5662.
Descriptors: African elephant, Loxodonta africana, Asian elephant, Eelephas maximus, locomotion, smooth gait transition, center of mass motion.

Rezaian, M. and S. Yamashiro (2005). Comparison between elephant and bovine platelet ultra structure. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 75(3): 267-270. ISSN: 0367-8318.
NAL Call Number: 41.8 IN22
Descriptors: Asian elephant, bovine platelet, ultra structure, elephant platelets, comparison, discoid shape.

Sa Ardrit, M., J. Saikhun, N. Thongtip, M. Damyang, S. Mahasawangkul, T. Angkawanish, S. Jansittiwate, T. Faisaikarm, Y. Kitiyanant, K. Pavasuthipaisit, and A. Pinyopummin (2006). Ultrastructural alterations of frozen-thawed Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa. International Journal of Andrology 29(2): 346-52.
NAL Call Number: QP251.I55
Abstract: Intact plasma and acrosome membranes and functional mitochondria following cryopreservation are important attributes for the fertilizing ability of spermatozoa. In the present study, functional and ultrastructural changes of Asian elephant spermatozoa after cryopreservation either in TEST + glycerol or HEPT + dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) were evaluated by fluorescent techniques and electron microscopy. Sperm frozen in TEST + glycerol had higher proportion of sperm with intact plasma (49.1 +/- 9.2% vs. 30.9 +/- 3.9%) and acrosomal (53.7 +/- 4.9% vs. 35.8 +/- 6.1%) membranes, as well as active mitochondria (57.0 +/- 7.2% vs. 42.0 +/- 5.0%) than those cryopreserved in HEPT + DMSO. The results obtained from electron microscopy were similar to those obtained by fluorescence microscopy. The percentage of normal spermatozoa was higher when spermatozoa were frozen in TEST + glycerol than those frozen in HEPT + DMSO (31.8 +/- 5.6 vs. 28.5 +/- 6.4). The ultrastructural alterations revealed by transmission electron microscopy could be classified as (i) distension of plasma membrane, while the acrosome was swollen; (ii) disruption or loss of plasma membrane, while acrosome was swollen with distended outer acrosomal membrane; (iii) disruption or loss of plasma and outer acrosomal membrane with leakage of acrosome content; (iv) extensive vesiculation of plasma and outer acrosomal membrane and leakage of acrosome content; (v) a complete loss of both plasma membrane and outer acrosomal membrane; and (vi) swelling of mitochondria. These findings suggest that the freezing and thawing procedure caused structural damage to elephant spermatozoa, especially in the plasma membrane, acrosome and mitochondria. Fluorescence and electron microscopic evaluations are potentially a powerful tool in the analysis of elephant spermatozoa after freezing and thawing.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, spermatozoa, frozen, thawed, ultrastructural, alterations, cryopreservation, fertilizing ability.

Saragusty, J., T.B. Hildebrandt, Y. Natan, R. Hermes, S. Yavin, F. Goeritz, and A. Arav (2005). Effect of egg-phosphatidylcholine on the chilling sensitivity and lipid phase transition of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa. Zoo Biology 24(3): 233-245. ISSN: 0733-3188.
NAL Call Number: QL77.5.Z6
Descriptors: semen extenders, cooling, liposomes artificial, cryopreservation, cryoprotectants, spermatazoa.

Saragusty, J., T.B. Hildebrandt, B. Behr, A. Knieriem, J. Kruse, and R. Hermes (2009). Successful cryopreservation of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa. Animal Reproduction Science 115(1-4): 255-266. ISSN: 0378-4320.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.11.010
NAL Call Number: QP251.A5
Abstract: Reproduction in captive elephants is low and infant mortality is high, collectively leading to possible population extinction. Artificial insemination was developed a decade ago; however, it relies on fresh-chilled semen from just a handful of bulls with inconsistent sperm quality. Artificial insemination with frozen-thawed sperm has never been described, probably, in part, due to low semen quality after cryopreservation. The present study was designed with the aim of finding a reliable semen freezing protocol. Screening tests included freezing semen with varying concentrations of ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, trehalose, dimethyl sulfoxide and glycerol as cryoprotectants and assessing cushioned centrifugation, rapid chilling to suprazero temperatures, freezing extender osmolarity, egg yolk concentration, post-thaw dilution with cryoprotectant-free BC solution and the addition of 10% (v/v) of autologous seminal plasma. The resulting optimal freezing protocol uses cushioned centrifugation, two-step dilution with isothermal 285mOsm/kg Berliner Cryomedium (BC) with final glycerol concentration of 7% and 16% egg yolk, and freezing in large volume by the directional freezing technique. After thawing, samples are diluted 1:1 with BC solution. Using this protocol, post-thaw evaluations results were: motility upon thawing: 57.2pl5.4%, motility following 30min incubation at 37pC: 58.5pl6.0% and following 3h incubation: 21.7pl7.6%, intact acrosome: 57.1pl5.2%, normal morphology: 52.0pl5.8% and viability: 67.3pl6.1%. With this protocol, good quality semen can be accumulated for future use in artificial inseminations when and where needed. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, spermatozoa, cryopreservation, artificial insemination, reproduction.

Shimosawa, K. and N. Misawa (2008). Assessment of Protein G in serodiagnosis of zoo animals and development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Asian elephant. Journal of the Japan Veterinary Medical Association 61(1): 75-78. ISSN: 0446-6454.
Abstract: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a fast and cost-effective serodiagnosis, is a helpful screening method in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. However, it remains unclear whether ELISA is suitable for the diagnosis of zoo animals. This study examined the reactivity of Protein G, an IgG-binding protein, to sera from zoo animals. Results showed that most sera examined bound strongly to Protein G, while sera from marsupial animals, Panthera and Asian elephant showed weak reactions. These findings suggest that Protein G does not bind to IgG uniformly in zoo animals. IgG was purified from Asian elephant serum, and used to obtain antiserum by immunizing a rabbit. This made it possible to develop an ELISA system for effectively detecting IgG in an Asian elephant. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, binding proteins, ELISA, IgG, immunodiagnosis, immunological diseases, zoo animals, infectious disease diagnosis.
Language of Text: Japanese, Summary in English.

Sreekumar, E., M.B.V. Janki, D.S. Arathy, R. Harharan, C.A. Premraj, and T.J. Rasool (2006). Molecular characterization and expression of Interferon-d of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Veterinary Immunologyand Immunopathology 118(1-2): 75-83. ISSN: 0165-2427.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2007.04.012
NAL Call Number: SF757.2.V38
Abstract: Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterial organisms has emerged as one of the major diseases in captive elephants. In vitro Interferon-gamma (IFN-d) assay is being used as an ancillary test for early detection of TB in domestic and captive wild animals. In the present study, basic sequence information and immunological cross-reactivity of this major cytokine of Asian elephants were explored. At predicted amino acid level, IFN-d of Asian elephant showed maximum identity to that of horse (73%). Other IFN-d amino acid sequences that showed high level identity were that of giant panda (72%), dog (71%), nine-banded armadillo (69%), cattle (63%) and human (62%). IFN-d promoter sequences of Asian elephant, human, cattle and mouse showed high level conservation of the putative transcription factor binding sites, TATA box and transcriptional start site. The functionally important human IFN-d promoter elements, such as AP-2IRE-BE, YY1-dIFN-BED, ATFCS and AP-1dINF binding sites, were absolutely conserved in the corresponding elephant sequence. There was only a single nucleotide variation in the other two important elements, NFAT-dINF and IFN-dPE, indicating the highly conserved regulation of IFN-d expression across different species. Phylogenetic analysis based on IFN-d protein sequences revealed a closer relation of Asian elephants and nine-banded armadillo. This shows a closer evolution of these members of Afrotheria and Xenarthra, respectively; and supports the previous reports based on mitochondrial DNA studies. In Western blot analysis, IFN-d of Asian elephant expressed in Escherichia coli was detected using an anti-bovine IFN-d monoclonal antibody, indicating immunological cross-reactivity. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, molecular genetics, complementary DNA, amino acid sequences, species differences, tuberculosis, captive wild animals.

Suwattana, D., W. Koykul, J. Jirasupphachok, and S. Kanchanapangka (2007). Microsattellite polymorphism and parentage control in Thai domestic elephants (Elephas maximus). Thai Journal of Veterinary Medicine 37(4): 33-38. ISSN: 0125-6491.
Abstract: Polymorphism of microsatellite DNA in Thai domestic elephants (Elephas maximus) was studied using five genetic markers including LaT05, LaT07, LaT16, La17 and LaT26, in order to determine the efficiency of such markers in parentage identification. Eleven elephants from 5 families and 10 unrelated ones located in the northern, northeastern and central parts of Thailand were tested. It was found that LaT05, LaT16, LaT17 and LaT26 possessed marker sizes of 250-500 bp with numbers of alleles ranging from 4-13, heterozygosity 0.62-0.88 and PIC 0.56-0.87 whereas LaT07 could not be detected in all specimens used. LaT05 and LaT26 appeared to be the most desirable markers with PIC=0.87. Parentage identification using the 4 genetic markers showed the results corresponding to the family history and pedigree record of all specimens with up to 99.14% of efficiency and accuracy. It was concluded that LaT05, LaT16, LaT17 and LaT26 all together could be used in parentage identification. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, animal breeding, genes, genetic markers, genetic polymorphism, parentage, pedigree.
Language of Text: Thai.

Thongtip, N., J. Saikhun, M. Damyang, S. Mahasawangkul, P. Suthunmapinata, M. Yindee, A. Kongsila, T. Angkawanish, S. Jansittiwate, and W. Wongkalasin (2004). Evaluation of post-thaw Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa using flow cytometry: the effects of extender and cryoprotectant. Theriogenology 62(3-4): 748-760. ISSN: 0093-691X.
NAL Call Number: QP251.A1T5
Abstract: Although the development of semen cryopreservation in the African elephants (Loxodonta africana) has been accomplished, effective procedures for cryopreservation of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) spermatozoa have not been established. In the present study, we investigate the freezing methods for conservation of Asian elephant spermatozoa under field conditions and identify the most suitable freezing protocols which provide acceptable post-thaw semen quality. Semen was collected from two Asian elephant bulls (EM1 and EM2, 10 ejaculates from each bull) by manual manipulation and were assessed for volume, pH, sperm cell concentration, and progressive motility. Eight out of 20 ejaculates were of acceptable quality (progressive motility greater than or equal to 60%), and were used for cryopreservation studies. Semen were frozen in TEST+glycerol, TEST+DMSO, HEPT+glycerol, or HEPT+DMSO. The post-thaw progressive sperm motilities were assessed, and sperm cells were stained with PI and FITC-PNA for membrane and acrosomal integrity assessment using flow cytometry. Post-thaw progressive motility of spermatozoa (EM1: 42.0½4.3%; EM2: 26.0½17.3%) and the percentage of membrane and acrosome intact spermatozoa (EM1: 55.5½8.1%; EM2: 46.3½6.4%) cryopreserved in TEST+glycerol were significantly higher than (P<0.05) those frozen in the other medium investigated choices for cryopreservation of Asian elephant spermatozoa. The data support the use of TEST+glycerol as an acceptable cryopreservation media of Asian elephant semen for the establishment of sperm banks.
Descriptors: Elephas maximus, spermatozoa, cryopreservation, semen extenders, cryoprotectants, flow cytometry, freezing, thawing, sperm motility, glycerol, dimethyl sulfoxide, plasma membrane, membrane permeability, acrosome reaction, male fertility, membrane integrity.

Uemura, Y., S. Asakuma, L. Yon, T. Saito, K. Fukuda, I. Arai, and T. Urashima (2006). Structural determination of the oligosaccharides in the milk of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, Molecular and Integrative Physiology 145(4): 468-478. ISSN: 1095-6433.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.08.001
Abstract: Milk of an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), collected at 11 days post partum, contained 91 g/L of hexose and 3 g/L of sialic acid. The dominant saccharide in this milk sample was lactose, but it also contained isoglobotriose (Glc( alpha 1-3)Gal( beta 1-4)Glc) as well as a variety of sialyl oligosaccharides. The sialyl oligosaccharides were separated from neutral saccharides by anion exchange chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex A-50 and successive gel chromatography on Bio Gel P-2. They were purified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) using an Amide-80 column and characterized by 1H-NMR spectroscopy. Their structures were determined to be those of 3'-sialyllactose, 6'-sialyllactose, monofucosyl monosialyl lactose (Neu5Ac( alpha 2-3)Gal( beta 1-4)[Fuc( alpha 1-3)]Glc), sialyl lacto-N-neotetraose c (LST c), galactosyl monosialyl lacto-N-neohexaose, galactosyl monofucosyl monosialyl lacto-N-neohexaose and three novel oligosaccharides as follows: Neu5Ac( alpha 2-3)Gal( beta 1-4)[Fuc( alpha 1-3)]GlcNAc( beta 1-3)Gal( beta 1 -4)Glc, Neu5Ac( alpha 2-6)Gal( beta 1-4)GlcNAc( beta 1-3)Gal( beta 1-4)GlcNAc( beta 1 -3)Gal( beta 1-4)Glc, and Neu5Ac( alpha 2-3)Gal( beta 1-4)[Fuc( alpha 1-3)]GlcNAc( beta 1-3)Gal( beta 1 -4)[Fuc( alpha 1-3)]GlcNAc( beta 1-3)Gal( beta 1-4)Glc. The higher oligosaccharides contained only the type II chain (Gal( beta 1-4)GlcNAc); this finding differed from previously published data on Asian elephant milk oligosaccharides. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, chemical composition, milk, milk composition, oligosaccharides.

van der Kolk, J.H., J.P.T.M. van Leeuwen, A.J.M. van den Belt, R.H.N. van Schaik, and W. Schaftenaar (2008). Subclinical hypocalcaemia in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Veterinary Record 162(15): 475-479. ISSN: 0042-4900.
Abstract: The hypothesis that hypocalcaemia may play a role in dystocia in captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) was investigated. The objectives of the study were to measure the total calcium concentration in elephant plasma; assess the changes in parameters of calcium metabolism during a feeding trial; investigate a possible relationship between calcium metabolism and dystocia; and assess bone mineralisation in captive Asian elephants in vivo. The following parameters were measured: total and ionised calcium, inorganic phosphorous and magnesium, the fractional excretions of these minerals, intact parathyroid hormone, 25-OH-D< sub>3</ sub> and 1,25-OH-D< sub>3</ sub>. Radiographs were taken from tail vertebrae for assessment of bone mineralisation. The mean (sd) heparinised plasma total calcium concentration was 2.7 (0.33) mmol/l (n=43) ranging from 0.84 to 3.08 mmol/l in 11 Asian elephants. There was no significant correlation between plasma total calcium concentration and age. Following feeding of a calcium rich ration to four captive Asian elephant cows, plasma total and ionised calcium peaked at 3.6 (0.24) mmol/l (range 3.4 to 3.9 mmol/l) and 1.25 (0.07) mmol/l (range 1.17 to 1.32 mmol/l), respectively. Plasma ionised calcium concentrations around parturition in four Asian elephant cows ranged from 0.37 to 1.1 mmol/l only. The present study indicates that captive Asian elephants might be hypocalcaemic, and that, in captive Asian elephants, the normal plasma concentration of total calcium should actually be around 3.6 mmol/l and normal plasma concentration of ionised calcium around 1.25 mmol/l. Given the fact that elephants absorb dietary calcium mainly from the intestine, it could be concluded that elephants should be fed calcium-rich diets at all times, and particularly around parturition. In addition, normal values for ionised calcium in captive Asian elephants should be reassessed. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, blood picture, blood plasma, bone mineralization, calcium, dystocia, hypocalcaemia, inorganic phosphorus, intestines, magnesium, mineral absorption, mineral metabolism, parathyrin, zoo animals.

Vandebona, H., N.C.W. Goonesekere, W.D. Ratnasooriya, J. Alahakoon, and M.B. Gunasekera (2005). Using dna fingerprinting to establish paternity of Asian elephants, Elephas maximus, born at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka. Annales Academiae Regiae Scientiarum Upsaliensis 39: 214-221. ISSN: 0504-0736.
Descriptors: Asian elephants, paternity identification, DNA fingerprinting, blood samples, genetic diversity, breeding programs, estrus, mating, Sri Lanka.

Vidya, T. and R. Sukumar (2005). Amplification success and feasibility of using microsatellite loci amplified from dung to population genetic studies of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Current Science (Bangalore) 88(3): 489-492. ISSN: 0011-3891.
NAL Call Number: 475 SCI23
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, population genetics, nucleic acids, feces, molecular genetics, microsatellite DNA, India, fecal microsatellite DNA samples, dung samples, population genetics analysis, evaluation.

Yon, L., J.G. Chen, P. Moran, and B. Lasley (2008). An analysis of the androgens of musth in the Asian bull elephant (Elephas maximus). General and Comparative Endocrinology 155(1): 109-115. ISSN: 0016-6480.
Online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2007.03.006
Abstract: During musth in bull elephants, the androgens testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and androstenedione all increase significantly. Given the unusual endocrine physiology that has been discovered in female elephants, it is also possible that bull elephants produce some unusual androgens. A cell-based androgen receptor assay was used to explore this possibility using two different methods. The first method compared the level of T measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA) with the level of androgen receptor (AR) activity measured in the serum of eight bull elephants during musth and non-musth periods. A ratio was calculated for T/AR activity for non-musth and musth, to determine if there was a change in the ratio between these two states. The second method used HPLC to separate two pooled serum samples (one non-musth and one musth) into fractions using a protocol which separates known androgens into specific, previously identified fractions. Each fraction was then tested with the AR assay to determine the androgenicity of any compounds present. This was done to determine if there were any fractions which had androgenic activity but did not contain any previously identified androgens. Results from the first analysis indicated no change in the T/AR ratio between non-musth and musth states. Clearly whatever active androgens are present during musth, they increase proportionately with T. Findings from the second analysis suggested that the only bioactive androgen present in the serum of non-musth Asian bulls is a low level of T. During musth, the only bioactive androgens detected were T and DHT; of these, T was by far the predominant active androgen present. Taken together, these two analyses suggest that T is by far the predominant active androgen present during musth in Asian bull elephants, and that no previously unidentified bioactive androgen is present. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, androgens, androstenedione, blood chemistry, HPLC, radioimmunoassay, testosterone.

Yon, L., S. Kanchanapangka, N. Chaiyabutr, F. Stanczyk, and S.L.B. Meepan (2007). ACTH stimulation in four Asian bull elephants (Elephas maximus): an investigation of androgen sources in bull elephants. General and Comparative Endocrinology 151(3): 246-251. ISSN: 0016-6480; (Online) 1095-6840.
Abstract: The phenomenon of musth is a very stressful event, both behaviorally and physiologically. An ACTH stimulation test was conducted in four adult Asian bull elephants to investigate the possibility that the classical hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is active during musth, resulting in an increase in adrenally produced steroids. Serum cortisol, testosterone (T), androstenedione (A4), androstenediol (A5), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured. Cortisol increased 3-10 times above baseline in response to ACTH stimulation, and DHEA doubled. A4 and A5 were erratic, while testosterone decreased significantly in all bulls. The pattern of results suggests that the adrenal steroid increase which occurs during musth results from some mechanism other than the classical HPA axis. Reproduced with Permission from CAB Abstracts.
Descriptors: Asian elephant, Elephas maximus, adrenal glands, androstenedione, blood chemistry, corticotropin, hydrocortisone, hypothalamus, pituitary, prasterone, testosterone.

 

 

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