Original Research

Assessment of viability and acrosomal status of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) sperm after treatment with calcium ionophore and heparin

M. Sa-ardrit, N. Thongtip, K. Kornkaewrat, T. Faisaikarm, Y. Kitiyanant, S. Mahasawangkul, A. Pinyopummin, K. Saikhun
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 80, No 3 | a192 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v80i3.192 | © 2009 M. Sa-ardrit, N. Thongtip, K. Kornkaewrat, T. Faisaikarm, Y. Kitiyanant, S. Mahasawangkul, A. Pinyopummin, K. Saikhun | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 May 2009 | Published: 23 May 2009

About the author(s)

M. Sa-ardrit,
N. Thongtip,
K. Kornkaewrat,
T. Faisaikarm,
Y. Kitiyanant,
S. Mahasawangkul,
A. Pinyopummin,
K. Saikhun,

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Abstract

Knowledge about the acrosomal status of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) sperm is extremely limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the viability and acrosomal status of Asian elephant sperm following induction by calcium ionophore and heparin using propidium iodide (PI) and fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugated peanut agglutinin (FITC-PNA). Semen samples were collected from elephant bulls by manual stimulation. Semen was diluted with extender, cooled to 4°C and transported to a laboratory for the experiment. Sperm cells were incubated in modified Tyrode's medium containing either 1mM calcium ionophore or 10 mg/mℓ heparin for 5 h at 39°C. Sperm recovered at the onset (0 h), 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 h of incubation were simultaneously assessed for the viability and acrosomal status using dual staining of FITC-PNA and PI. Results were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. A progressive increase in the proportion of live-acrosome reacted sperm was observed within 3 h of incubation in both treatment groups which slightly decreased at 4 to5 h of incubation. At 1 to 3 h of incubation, the percentage of live-acrosome reacted sperm induced by calcium ionophore was higher (P < 0.05) than those induced by heparin and the control. However, there were no statistical differences at 4 to 5 h of incubation. A progressive reduction of the percentage of motile sperm was observed in the control as well as both treatment groups. Sperm motility decreased sharply when they were incubated in calcium ionophore compared with incubation in heparin and control groups. These results indicate that the occurrence of live-acrosome reacted sperm in the Asian elephant was induced by calcium ionophore at a rate higher than that induced by heparin.

Keywords

acrosome reaction; calcium ionophore; elephant; heparin; sperm

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