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Endometrial glandular changes in aged captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in southern Africa
Uterine tip samples were collected from 21 nulliparous cheetahs originating from two different research conservation organisations in Namibia and one in South Africa during previous studies.
Qualitative data was collected for each individual cheetah (n=21), including conservation centre of origin, name, age, procedure at which uterine sample was collected, deslorelin treatment history, reproductive status and ultrasound findings (if present/available).
Quantitative data was collected by performing morphometric measurements on high quality images of the H&E stained histopathology slides of a single cross-section of each uterus, close to the uterine tip. Morphometric measurements included: endometrial area, endometrial width, myometrial width, gland profile number, gland lumen area and uterine lumen area. Measurements were obtained using Olympus cellSens ® Dimension imaging software (Olympus Life Sciences Solutions, Japan).
Histological examination of all the samples were performed to evaluate glandular and luminal epithelium, with specific attention to epithelial height (cuboidal, low columnar, high columnar) in both ectatic and normal glands. Glandular distribution and any additional changes in the glands and stroma were also noted.
Statistical analysis included correlations between the variables using Spearman’s rank correlation.
Differences in the medians of each variable between animals in anoestrus and those in pro-oestrus/oestrus, and between animals previously treated with deslorelin and those not treated, were assessed using a two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test. Differences between ovariectomy, salpingectomy and post mortem samples were assessed using the Kruskal-Wallis one-way ANOVA (nonparametric version of ANOVA); if significant (P<0.05), Dunn's multiple comparison test was applied with the Bonferroni adjustment. All analyses were done using Stata 15 (StataCorp, College Station, TX, U.S.A.) and significance was assessed at P<0.05.
The relevant animal ethics (V074-18) and research ethics (REC064-18) approvals were obtained from the University of Pretoria in order to perform this research.