We have investigated the ultrastructure of the temporal gland of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in the musth condition. We find that the organelles are highly evolved for the production of the androgen, testosterone which is reported to be very high in the Asian male elephant in full musth. The mitochondria bear cristae which are profuse and tubular, and occur along with many Golgi bodies. There is hypertrophy of smooth endoplasmic reticulum.
While elephants have played an important role in human ecology throughout recorded history, their anatomy has been the subject of relatively few studies, and these studies considered only a limited number of specimens. This is especially true for the elephants' feet, despite the common occurrence of foot disease in elephants (Evans 1961, Mikota et al. 1994). One study that surveyed North American captive elephants found that 50 percent had experience foot problems (Mikota et al. 1994).
The lactating mammary gland of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) has been studied with a panel of morphological techniques focusing on (1) the functional changes during the secretory process, (2) proliferative process [by application of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) immunohistochemistry] and apoptotic phenomena [by use of the TUNEL technique] in the individual lobules, and (3) components of milk and milk-fat-globule membrane.
The tusk of the African elephant is preceded by a deciduous tooth generally known as the tush. Tushes from nine elephant fetuses and six calves younger than 1 year were exposed by dissection and described morphologically. All tushes consisted of a crown, root and pulpal cavity, the formation of which is completed soon after birth. They reached a maximum length of 5 cm, appeared not to erupt through the skin and were pushed aside and resorbed during enlargement of the distally located primordium of the tusk.
The histology, particularly the ultrastructural cytology, of the adrenal gland of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana, is virtually unknown. Tissue from 14 adult male and female elephants was processed for light and transmission electron microscopy. The gland is surrounded by a thick capsule composed of an outer layer of dense connective tissue and an inner layer in which smooth muscle fibres predominate. Below the layer of smooth muscle, a continuous layer of relatively undifferentiated "capsular" cells occur.