Introduction: Timing of sexual maturity is essential in order to establish when reproductive technologies can successfully be performed. To date, little is known about reproductive biology in the Taurotragus genus, which includes only two species: common eland (Taurotragus oryx) and giant eland (Taurotragus derbianus). Here, for the first time, we explored testicular development throughout puberty in common eland.
Materials and methods: Samples were collected from six young (1533 months) slaughtered eland. Spermatogenesis was evaluated performing the fine needle aspiration cytology technique. Animals were categorised according to their age into two even groups: below and above 2 years old, respectively. The percentage of each cell type was determined on at least 200 spermatogenic and Sertoli cells. Indices of spermatogenic efficiency, Sertoli cell functionality and workload were determined. Animal biometrics and epididymal sperm parameters were assessed.
Results and discussion: Cytological analysis showed that full spermatogenesis was already established at 15 months. Spermatozoa were found both in testis and epididymal cauda indicating that at this age eland already reached puberty. An overall increase of spermatogenesis efficiency and Sertoli cell functionality were observed when comparing individuals below and above 2 years old, although differences were not statistically significant (P>0.05). Sperm concentration was correlated with Sertoli cell functionality and workload (r=0.912, P=0.011 and r=0.956, P=0.003, respectively). In conclusion, our study provides the first insights on the onset of puberty in common eland, which can be used as a model even for the critically endangered western giant eland.
02 - 04 Sep 2014
World Congress of Reproductive Biology