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K. GRIFFITHS, J. K. GRANT, MARGARET C. K. BROWNING, W. G. WHYTE and JESSIE L. SHARP

SUMMARY

A tumour of a dysgenetic gonad was removed from an 18-yr.-old girl, who had presented with primary amenorrhoea and poor breast development. Examination showed clitoral hypertrophy, and chromosome analysis showed a normal male 46/XY karyotype. Microscopically, cells of both ovary and testis were recognized in the tumour. Incubation of the tissue with [4-14C]progesterone in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate solution showed its capacity to synthesize testosterone and oestradiol-17β. 16α-Hydroxyprogesterone was also formed during the incubation.

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J J Whyte, A P Alexenko, A M Davis, M R Ellersieck, E D Fountain and C S Rosenfeld

We examined the effects of three maternal diets (very high fat (VHF), low fat (LF), and control (Purina 5015)) on serum steroids, free fatty acids (FFA), and vaginal pH in National Institutes of Health Swiss mice. Females were fed (VHF, n = 33; LF, n = 33; 5015, n = 48) from 4 to 16 weeks of age. Following breeding, female serum was collected at 0.5 (pre-implantation, early diestrus) or 8.5 (post-implantation, mid-diestrus) days post-coitus (dpc). The serum concentrations of 17β-estradiol, testosterone, progesterone, and FFA were analyzed at both collection points, and vaginal pH at 0.5 dpc. Striking differences in steroids and FFA were observed at 0.5 dpc among the groups. Estradiol was higher in the VHF (14.1 ± 3.0 pg/ml), compared with LF mice (5.2 ± 2.3 pg/ml; P≤ 0.05). In contrast, 0.5 dpc testosterone was lower in the VHF (10.5 ± 3.0 pg/ml) versus the LF group (32.7 ± 8.4 pg/ml; P≤ 0.05). At 8.5 dpc, progesterone was higher in the VHF (89.6 ± 6.7 ng/ml) versus the 5015 group (60.1 ± 4.9 ng/ml; P≤ 0.05). VHF mice had higher FFA concentrations at 0.5 dpc (1.0 ± 0.2 mmol/l) than LF and control mice (0.5 ± 0.1 and 0.6 ± 0.1 mmol/l respectively; P≤ 0.05). At 8.5 dpc, VHF females had higher serum FFA (0.8 ± 0.1 mmol/l) than LF and control females (0.4 ± 0.1 and 0.6 ± 0.1 mmol/l; P≤ 0.05). Mean vaginal pH of VHF females (6.41 ± 0.09) was lower than 5015 females (6.76 ± 0.10; P≤ 0.05). These diet-induced alterations in serum steroid and FFA concentrations might affect several reproductive processes, including preferential fertilization by one class of sperm over the other and sex bias in pre- and post-implantational embryonic development.