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CECILIA LUTWAK-MANN

SUMMARY

Carbonic anhydrase was shown to occur in the female reproductive tract of a variety of mammalian species. The uterine endometrium, placental tissue and the Fallopian tubes were established as the main loci of carbonic anhydrase activity.

The enzyme was present in the endometrium of the non-pregnant rabbit in a low concentration. Following mating no perceptible increase in enzyme content occurred before the 4th day; from then onwards the activity continued to rise, reaching a maximum by about the 8th day; with advancing foetal development the endometrial activity declined, but at the same time the enzyme could be demonstrated in the placenta, chiefly in the maternal, but to a small extent also in the foetal, part.

The behaviour of carbonic anhydrase in the pseudopregnant uterus or in response to ovulating doses of gonadotrophin or copper salts, presented essentially the same picture as in the early phase of pregnancy; excessive doses of gonadotrophin were capable of increasing the enzyme content within 2 days of administration; moreover, their effect persisted for 20–24 days.

Progesterone, and to a smaller extent ethisterone and methyltestosterone, injected into oestrous adult or into oestrogen-primed immature rabbits, produced marked increases in the content of uterine carbonic anhydrase, the extent of which depended upon the dose.

Whereas the endometrium of rats, hamsters and guinea-pigs was completely devoid of carbonic anhydrase, both in pregnant and non-pregnant females, the placenta of these animals contained the enzyme, again mainly in the maternal portion.

The uterine mucosa of the non-pregnant sheep was conspicuously rich in carbonic anhydrase, the activity being largely restricted to the intercotyledonary areas; the uterine portion of the Fallopian tubes was also remarkably active. In this species the uterine carbonic anhydrase was found to be independent of ovarian function: the enzyme was present in the uteri of prepubertal lambs, and it was fully preserved in ovariectomized animals. Considerable enzymic activity was found in the sheep placenta.

No carbonic anhydrase was found in the uterus or Fallopian tubes of the non-pregnant pig; the pig placenta, however, was very active, the enzyme being located in the chorion in late pregnancy.

In the non-pregnant cow only the fimbrial portion of the Fallopian tubes showed enzymic activity, especially marked in the immediate post-ovulatory phase. No carbonic anhydrase was present in the non-pregnant uteri or Fallopian tubes of mares, cats or dogs.

By introducing parenterally large amounts of a sulphonamide inhibitor of carbonic anhydrase it was possible to inhibit the enzyme in vivo, both in the rat placenta and in the progestational rabbit endometrium.

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R. H. F. HUNTER

SUMMARY

Capacitation and fertilization during pseudopregnancy in the rabbit were examined on Days 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 after mating with vasectomized males. At each of these five stages of pseudopregnancy, ovulation was induced in ten animals by a single injection of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG); an additional group of oestrous rabbits was similarly injected to serve as controls. Ejaculated spermatozoa were inseminated directly into the Fallopian tubes during laparotomy performed 2 h after the ovulating injection, and 15–22 h later the eggs were examined microscopically for evidence of fertilization.

The mean number and range of induced ovulations decreased between Days 4 and 12 of pseudopregnancy. An overall recovery of 66% of the eggs resulting from these ovulations was achieved, the great majority being located in the Fallopian tubes. Fertilized eggs were obtained from 93% of the 60 does and 84% of the recovered eggs were fertilized. There was neither a decrease in the level of fertilization with advancing stages of pseudopregnancy, nor did the stage of pseudopregnancy influence the rate of development from pronuclear to four-celled eggs. Conspicuous among the small number of abnormal fertilizations were four dispermic pronuclear eggs and two digynic pronuclear eggs.

It is concluded that after injection of HCG, complete capacitation of ejaculated spermatozoa can be achieved in the Fallopian tube between Days 4 and 12 of pseudopregnancy as rapidly as in the tube of oestrous rabbits. Furthermore, a high proportion of the eggs induced to ovulate during pseudopregnancy can be fertilized, though their potential for full embryonic development requires further study.

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J. H. MARSTON and W. A. KELLY

SUMMARY

In the mouse, a unilateral intra-uterine device (IUD) exerted a bilateral contraceptive effect by causing the elimination of embryos from both uterine horns and the bilateral inhibition of the decidual cell reaction. Both uterine horns showed leucocytic infiltration into the endometrium and uterine lumen.

The bilateral effect was correlated with the existence of luminal continuity between the two uterine horns. Conception proceeded normally in the control uterine horn that had been completely separated from the IUD horn.

An IUD did not usually disturb the function of the Fallopian tube, but tube-locking of embryos occasionally occurred as an artifact. The contraceptive effects of an IUD were exerted within the uterus during the period immediately before implantation.

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G. DÖRNER and F. DÖCKE

Hohlweg (1934) was the first to demonstrate corpus luteum formation in prepubertal female rats after oestrogen injection. This ' Hohlweg effect' was later confirmed by numerous workers. It is prevented by hypophysectomy (Hohlweg & Chamorro, 1937), or trans-section of the hypophysial stalk (Westman & Jacobsohn, 1938). The present study was made to see whether, in rats of the Wistar strain (Rehbrücke), the Hohlweg effect is based on a sex-specific reaction of the hypothalamo-hypophysial system.

Intact prepubertal female rats weighing 40–50 g. were injected s.c. with 12 or 30 μg. oestradiol benzoate (EB) dissolved in 0·2 ml. sesame oil, or with oil alone. Five days later the animals were killed and the uteri and Fallopian tubes removed. The ova were obtained by flushing the uteri with saline and opening the tubes and were counted with the help of a dissecting microscope, the ovaries were fixed in Zenker's solution, sections, 5μ thick, were

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M. J. K. HARPER

SUMMARY

By means of the technique of tracing the movement of 'artificial eggs' (radioactive spheres) by autoradiography (Harper, Bennett, Boursnell & Rowson, 1960) a study has been made of the effects of a decreasing oestrogen and various increasing progesterone doses on egg movement through the reproductive tract of ovariectomized rabbits. Five or more animals were autopsied at 8, 24, 48 and 56 hr. after insertion of the spheres into the ampulla of the Fallopian tube.

It was hoped that such treatments would produce hormonal conditions similar to those in intact rabbits after ovulation, and that therefore normal tubal transport would occur. The treatments used produced normal movement of the spheres through the ampulla and the isthmus, and most of them were retained in the Fallopian tube up to 48 hr. after insertion. However, by 48 hr. one or more spheres were observed to have entered the vagina in all treatment groups. None of the treatments caused most of the spheres to enter the uterus between 48 and 56 hr. after insertion, as would be the case in intact animals at a similar time after ovulation. It was concluded, however, that such treatments could produce tubal transport normal up to 48 hr. in ovariectomized rabbits, and that the presence of oestrogen appeared to be the controlling factor.

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M. J. K. HARPER

SUMMARY

Fifty-five mature oestrous does were injected intravenously with luteinizing hormone (LH) and subsequently killed between 9 hr. 52 min. and 14 hr. 30 min. after injection. At autopsy the number of freshly ruptured follicles was counted and was expressed as a percentage of the total number of follicles (ruptured and unruptured) counted, that had undergone pre-ovulatory swelling. This method of calculating 'percentage ovulation' gave results which agreed very closely with previously reported data. The calculation showed no ovulation by 10 hr., 50% ovulation between 10½ and 10¾ hr., and 100% ovulation by 14 hr. after the injection of LH.

In thirty-nine out of these fifty-five does a special study was carried out to determine in what position (in the ruptured follicle, on the surface of the ovary or in the Fallopian tube) the eggs from the ruptured follicles were recovered in relation to the time elapsing after LH injection. Between 10½ and 11½ hr. after injection about 17% of the eggs were found either still inside the ruptured follicle, or within the cumulus oophorus protruding from the follicle or adhering to the ovarian surface. However, at 11½–13 hr. after injection only 3·6–5·9% were still in the follicle or on the ovarian surface. From 13 hr. after LH injection all the eggs recovered were found in the Fallopian tube. These results suggest that not all the eggs are ejected from the follicle at the time of rupture, and that some appreciable time may elapse between follicular rupture and entry of eggs into the tube.

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R J Norman and M Brannstrom

While the disciplines of reproduction and immunology have traditionally been seen to be discrete and separate areas of biology, there is now compelling evidence of an intimate relationship between the cells of the reproductive tract and those of the immune system. White cells are found throughout the uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovary, and change in numbers and subtypes throughout the reproductive cycle (Bulmer et al. 1991). In the uterus, leukocytes congregate at the implantation site and successful conception leads to alteration of the maternal immune system (Hill 1990). For clinical purposes, the importance of immune activation is identified in two relevant hypotheses. The first, the immunotrophism hypothesis of Wegmann and colleagues (Wegmann 1988, Beaman 1990), states that products of T lymphocytes in the uterus promote implantation and embryonic development through stimulation of the proliferation and function of the trophoblast cells. The second, promoted by Hill (1990) and termed the immunodystrophism

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T. MANN, C. POLGE, and L. E. A. ROWSON

SUMMARY

Chemical methods for the analysis of three characteristic constituents of seminal plasma, namely, fructose, citric acid and ergothioneine, were applied in an attempt to evaluate in a quantitative manner the participation of seminal plasma in the passage of sperm along the female reproductive tract of two species, the pig and the horse.

At specified intervals after mating, the reproductive tract of the gilt and the mare, respectively, was exposed, the uterine horns and Fallopian tubes clamped into several segments and the contents of the isolated portions withdrawn for analysis.

In the gilt, about 40 min after mating, the uterine horns were found to be filled with semen containing spermatozoa, as well as fructose, ergothioneine and citric acid, but 6 hr after mating the bulk of sperm and seminal plasma had disappeared. In the mare, 50 min after mating, spermatozoa, ergothioneine and citric acid were recovered from both uterine horns, in proportions resembling those found in fresh stallion semen.

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E. B. KEVERNE and R. P. MICHAEL

The occurrence of menstruation in female rhesus monkeys is difficult to assess reliably under field conditions, but quantitative data obtained in the laboratory (Hartman, 1932) have indicated that menstruation in this species is infrequent and irregular during the summer months; similar views have been expressed by others (van Wagenen, 1945; Corner, 1945; Kerber & Reese, 1969). However, Rowell (1963) found scant evidence of a summer period of amenorrhoea but reported that cycles were shorter in winter than in summer. Data on changes in the menstrual rhythm throughout the year tend to be confused by the interruptions caused by pregnancy and lactation, and we report here on annual changes in the occurrence of menstrual bleeding in female rhesus monkeys whose Fallopian tubes were ligated to prevent pregnancy.

Thirty adult female rhesus monkeys (body wt 5·0–8·3 kg) were obtained from northern India and studied over a 6-yr period between May 1964 and

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G. H. BELL

In view of the well-known species differences in the realm of reproductive physiology it would be a great advantage if an animal were found whose uterine muscle reacted in a manner similar to that of the human subject. It would make investigations of dosage of hormones and of hormone therapy of uterine muscle distinctly easier. Apart from some work on the activity of the Fallopian tubes of monkeys by Seckinger & Corner [1923] in vitro, and by Westman [1929] in vivo, no investigation of the movements of the monkey uterus in vivo has been noted by Reynolds [1939] in a very comprehensive review. The present work was carried out on the most readily available monkey, the rhesus monkey. Unfortunately, well-grown specimens are difficult to get from the dealers; the animal is also rather expensive for any routine investigation. Until its possibilities have been explored, however, its usefulness cannot be defined.