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  • Author: D. T. WILLIAMS x
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The cortical granules of hamster ova were ruptured in vitro by electrical stimulation (standard treatment was 150 V, 1·0 msec). Approximately 8 min were required for the cortical granule material so released to induce a complete zona reaction. The active material from the cortical granules was released into the medium from vitelli and was shown to act directly on the zona pellucida and on mouse, as well as on hamster, ova, i.e. its action is not species specific. The action of the cortical granule material was reversed by trypsin inhibitors. Such a tryspin-like protease, causing the zona reaction, was also released from vitelli by spermatozoa.

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H O Goyal, T D Braden, P S Cooke, M A Szewczykowski, C S Williams, P Dalvi and J W Williams

Previously, we reported an association between estrogen receptor-α (ERα) upregulation and detrimental effects of neonatal diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in the rat penis. The objective of this study was to employ the ERα knockout (ERαKO) mouse model to test the hypothesis that ERα mediates DES effects in the developing penis. ERαKO and wild-type C57BL/6 mice received oil or DES at a dose of 0.2 μg/pup per day (0.1 mg/kg) on alternate days from postnatal days 2 to 12. Fertility was tested at 80–240 days of age and tissues were examined at 96–255 days of age. DES caused malformation of the os penis, significant reductions in penile length, diameter, and weight, accumulation of fat cells in the corpora cavernosa penis, and significant reductions in weight of the bulbospongiosus and levator ani muscles in wild-type mice. Conversely, ERαKO mice treated with DES developed none of the above abnormalities. While nine out of ten male mice sired pups in the wild-type/control group, none did in the wild-type/DES group. ERαKO mice, despite normal penile development, are inherently infertile. Both plasma and intratesticular testosterone levels were unaltered in the DES-treated wild-type or DES-treated ERαKO mice when compared with controls, although testosterone concentration was much higher in the ERαKO mice. Hence, the resistance of ERαKO mice to developing penile abnormalities provides unequivocal evidence of an obligatory role for ERα in mediating the harmful effects of neonatal DES exposure in the developing penis.

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A. R. Scanlon, S. J. Sunderland, T. L. Martin, D. Goulding, D. O'Callaghan, D. H. Williams, D. R. Headon, M. P. Boland, J. J. Ireland and J. F. Roche

Two experiments were conducted in cyclic beef heifers to determine whether active immunization against bovine inhibin α 1–26 Gly-Tyr (bINH) affected follicular dynamics, hormone concentration or ovulation rate. In Expt 1, heifers (n = 9) were actively immunized against bINH conjugated to human α globulins (HAG) using bisdiazotized benzidine in non-ulcerative Freund's adjuvant (NUFA; primary on day 0; booster injections on days 53, 84 and 116 using conjugated bINH and on days 176 and 366 using unconjugated bINH; ten heifers were used as controls). Ovaries were examined daily using ultrasound scanning (days 70–155 and 384–391) and corresponding blood samples were collected for bINH antibody titre, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol determinations. Four treated and four control heifers were injected with 10 μg gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) on day 386 (day 2 of the oestrous cycle). Although bINH-immunized heifers had variable antibody titres ranging from 4 to 50% I125-labelled bINH bound to serum diluted 1:2000, ovulation rate was unaffected. In oestrous cycles with three dominant follicles, the ovulatory follicles grew faster (2.5 ± 0.2 versus 1.6 ± 0.3 mm day−1; mean ± sem), had shorter durations of growth (5.7 ± 0.8 versus 9.6 ± 1.6 days) and duration of detection (7.5 ± 0.8 versus 12.0 ± 2.4 days) in immunized heifers. Mean concentrations of FSH, LH and oestradiol were unaltered in most cases during oestrous cycles in bINH-immunized compared with control heifers. There was no significant difference in the percentage increase in FSH or LH, after GnRH injection, between control and immunized heifers. As ovulation rate was unaltered in the first experiment, a second similar study was designed using a different immunization protocol. In Expt 2, heifers were immunized with bINH conjugated to human serum albumin using glutaraldehyde with the following doses: 0.0 (control; n = 7), 0.33 (n = 7), 1.0 (n = 8) and 3.0 (n = 7) mg. Three booster immunizations were given 33, 66 and 209 days after primary immunization. Immunization increased the number of oestrous cycles with multiple ovulations (42 of 132 (32%) oestrous cycles examined) compared with controls (1 of 30 (3.3%) oestrous cycles examined). Neither titre nor ovulation rate was affected by dose of bINH used. In summary, following bINH immunization, ovulation rate was not increased despite changes in follicular dynamics in Expt 1, but was increased in 32% of oestrous cycles in Expt 2. We conclude that immunization protocols can affect responsiveness of heifers to bINH immunization, and that immunization against inhibin can increase ovulation rate.

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M Amstalden, D A Zieba, M R Garcia, R L Stanko, T H Welsh Jr, W H Hansel and G L Williams

Experiments were performed to test the hypothesis that lamprey GnRH-III (lGnRH-III) selectively releases FSH. Primary cultures of bovine adenohypophyseal cells were treated with mammalian GnRH (mGnRH) and lGnRH-III (10−9, 10−8, 10−7 and 10−6 M) or control media in Experiment 1. All doses of mGnRH and the two highest doses of lGnRH-III stimulated (P < 0.001) a non-selective release of LH and FSH. In Experiments 2–4, Latin Square designs were utilized in vivo to examine whether physiological and hormonal milieu regulate putative selective effects of lGnRH-III. In Experiments 2 and 3, ovariectomized cows with basal levels of estradiol only (Experiment 2) or in combination with luteal phase levels of progester-one (Experiment 3) were injected with mGnRH and lGnRH-III (0.055, 0.11, 0.165 and 1.1 μg/kg body weight (BW) and saline. All doses of mGnRH released (P < 0.001) LH and FSH, but only the highest dose of lGnRH-III stimulated (P < 0.001) a non-selective release of both LH and FSH (Experiment 3). For Experiments 4A and 4B, intact, mid-luteal phase cows were injected with mGnRH and lGnRH-III (1.1 μg/kg BW; Experiment 4A), lGnRH-III (1.1 and 4.4 μg/kg BW; Experiment 4B) and saline. As before, mGnRH released (P < 0.001) both LH and FSH at all doses. In contrast, lGnRH-III at the highest dose released (P < 0.001) LH but not FSH. These findings suggest that lGnRH-III may act as a weak competitor for the mGnRH receptor and do not support the hypothesis that it selectively releases FSH in cattle.