Home > Explore Data & Reports > Preliminary report on bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) uterine samples for parity analysis


Meisner, R., and W.E. McFee. 2004. Preliminary report on bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) uterine samples for parity analysis. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 3. Charleston, SC. 10 pp.

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NOAA Technical Memorandum

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There have been numerous studies on various mammalian species regarding vascular changes in uterine arteries elucidating the effects of parity. In equids, vascular changes of uterine arteries have been demonstrated to occur in uniparous and multiparous mares. The severity of these arteriole changes suggests a link to previous pregnancies. Differences in the number or range of pregnancies can be ascertained through microscopic evaluation of elastin deposition in the arterioles, perivascular fibrosis, and stromal cellularity. There has been little, if any, work performed on parity in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The objective of this preliminary study was to determine the feasibility of detecting similar vascular changes in the endometrium of known-aged female bottlenose dolphins to assess parity. Archived formalin fixed samples of uterus were obtained from nine bottlenose dolphins with known age and parity. Four slides were made from each sample and individually stained with four different techniques. From our small sample pool, it appears that uteri from nulliparous animals do not develop perivascular fibrosis. Parous uteri developed perivascular fibrosis and arteriolar elastosis. These changes agree with our expectations that some degeneration (elastosis) and compensation (fibrosis) occurs as a result of uterine expansion of pregnancy. The assessment of this technique for use in bottlenose dolphins would provide an important tool in the determination of the reproductive success of dolphin populations, identify individuals who are sexually mature but nulliparous, which could indicate reproductive dysfunction or increased calving intervals, and increase our knowledge on the role contaminants play in reproductive dysfunction.

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