in Journal of Endocrinology
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The withdrawal of ovarian progesterone either naturally at the end of pregnancy, or after ovariectomy, hysterectomy, or both, leads to a rapid accumulation of lactose in the mammary gland of the rat in late pregnancy (Shinde, Ôta & Yokoyama, 1965; Kuhn, 1969). In each instance administered progesterone prevents this accumulation (Kuhn, 1969; R. P. Deis & A. Alonso, quoted by Deis, 1968). The natural disappearance of progesterone before parturition is paralleled by a marked rise in the concentration of 20α-hydroxypregn-4-en-3-one in the plasma (Fajer & Barraclough, 1967; Hashimoto, Hendricks, Anderson & Melampy, 1968; Wiest, Kidwell & Balogh, 1968; Kuhn, 1969), due to the appearance of 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in ovarian corpora lutea (Wiest et al. 1968; N. J. Kuhn & M. S. Briley, to be published). To support the concept of progesterone withdrawal as a physiological trigger for lactogenesis (Kuhn, 1969) it is necessary to show that closely related steroids, especially


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