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A. B. GILBERT and P. E. LAKE

Summary.

The distribution of nervous tissue within the oviduct of the hen has been examined with particular reference to the isthmus, uterus and vagina. The uterus and utero-vaginal junction were well innervated and nerve cells were more abundant in these regions. An extensive mesh of large nerve fibres was evident in the uterus, together with a much finer network of mainly single fibres associated with the muscle cells. Fewer large nerves were found in the utero-vaginal and vaginal regions. Many of the nerves in the isthmus innervated the blood vessels. Several small ganglia were found externally, towards the caudal end of the uterus and surrounding the uterovaginal junction.

The arrangement of the smooth muscle layers of the posterior oviduct is described.

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S. K. Gupta, A. B. Gilbert and M. A. Walker

Summary. Semi-serial (1 in 20) sections of ovaries were studied and only two types of atresia were identified—non-bursting and bursting. Smaller, non-yolky follicles (< 1 mm diameter) showed non-bursting atresia. Atresia in follicles > 1 mm diameter was invariably of the bursting type which involved the rupture of the follicular wall, and the extrusion of yolk and cellular debris through the rupture site into the stroma. However, this rupture site was small and consequently was not visible in every section but it could always be seen when the follicle was followed in semi-serial sections. The mitotic index of granulosa cells in bursting atretic follicles was much lower than that for normal follicles.

The most common criteria for distinguishing non-bursting atretic follicles were the extremely shrunken, irregularly shaped oocytes and the separation of the granulosa from the theca. In bursting atretic follicles, reliable indications were the presence in the ooplasm of some cells or cellular debris, and disorganization of the yolk and granulosa tissue. The presence of pycnotic nuclei in the granulosa cells was not a consistent feature of all atretic follicles of the hen.

Keywords: hen; follicles; atresia; histology

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A. B. Gilbert, M. F. Davidson and J. W. Wells

Summary. Surgical removal of the granulosa cells, leaving the remainder of the postovulatory follicle (POF) intact (including the thecal interstitial cells), resulted in delays of oviposition of about 19 h; similar delays were obtained when the granulosa was left in situ but was damaged by the insertion of a silicone disc into the POF. The insertion of wax balls resulted in delays of 3–4 h but the granulosa appeared to be normal. It is concluded that the integrity of the granulosa is important for normal oviposition.

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A. B. GILBERT, MARGARET E. REYNOLDS and F. W. LORENZ

Summary.

The innervation and vascular supply of the uterovaginal sperm-host glands of the domestic hen were investigated. No nerves were associated with these glands, although nerves were demonstrated in other regions of the oviduct.

The glands have a complex blood supply consisting of a capillary network connected to the arterial and venous systems and to the epithelial capillary plexus. The capillaries of the glands are in intimate contact with the cells over relatively great lengths.

The possibility of the vascular system being in some way related to the control of the function of the glands is discussed.

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D. G. M. WOOD-GUSH and A. B. GILBERT

Cole & Hutt (1953) reported nesting in non-laying ovulating hens and Wood-Gush (1963) showed that nesting behaviour occurs in birds in which the functional oviduct had been removed and also in birds which had been turned into obligatory internal layers by ligating the infundibulum. Wood-Gush & Gilbert (1964) later found that the ruptured follicle was important for nesting behaviour to occur, for in twenty-five birds out of thirty-four in which this follicle was removed or ligated nesting behaviour was affected, while no significant effect was apparent in the sixty-two control birds which underwent one of three other treatments to the ovary, showing that nesting is highly correlated with the occurrence of ovulation. A striking feature of the behaviour of the original experimental internal layers studies was the high nesting rate. The data suggested that, if nesting behaviour is related to
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A. B. GILBERT, MARGARET E. REYNOLDS and F. W. LORENZ

Summary.

Histochemical tests in the uterovaginal region of the mature domestic fowl have demonstrated that sperm-host glands, and to a lesser extent transitional glands, contain glycogen. Uterine glands and epithelial tissue contain either no carbohydrate or only mucopolysaccharides. The host glands contained a lipid in granules which is presumably secretory; this may be an atypical phospholipid or one which is present as a complex with other substances. No discrete sites of protein synthesis were observed. They also secrete acid phosphatase but not potassium. The functions of these substances have not yet been determined.

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Maida F. Davidson, A. B. Gilbert and J. W. Wells

Summary. The distribution of Δ5-3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase was examined in the ovaries of hens aged 8–30 weeks. At all ages the interstitial cells (both thecal and stromal) gave a positive formazan reaction, but a positive reaction was not obtained in the granulosa cells of follicles less than 5 mm diameter in mature or immature birds. Since activity was restricted to follicles of larger size than this, it is concluded that steroidogenesis occurs in the granulosa cells for only the last 7–8 days of their life in the preovulatory follicle.

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A. B. GILBERT and D. G. M. WOOD-GUSH

Summary.

A technique has been described for the fistulation of the hen's oviduct through the abdominal wall with recovery of the ovum.

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A. B. GILBERT, MARGARET E. REYNOLDS and F. W. LORENZ

Summary.

The effect of a surgical thread placed in the uterus (shellgland) on the function of the sperm-host glands was investigated. It was confirmed by histological examination that treated birds, whether inseminated before or after surgery, had fewer spermatozoa in the glands than did untreated birds. No effect on the glandular secretions was revealed. These observations are discussed in relation to glandular function and the survival of spermatozoa within the oviduct.

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J. Culbert, Marion A. Hardie, J. W. Wells and A. B. Gilbert

Summary. Laying hens were injected i.v. with a single dose of ovine LH (100 pg) 6–8 h after a known ovulation, i.e. when plasma LH concentrations are low. Groups of 4 birds were killed at 15 min intervals up to 1 h after injection and the complete granulosa was obtained from 4 or 5 of the largest preovulatory follicles of each bird for progesterone measurement by g.l.c. Compared with the saline-injected controls which had negligible levels of progesterone, granulosa progesterone increased in all the LH-treated birds. The maximum response (mean progesterone content 1966 ng/follicle) occurred 45 min after injection but there was a significant decline by 60 min. It is concluded that the granulosa cells provide most of the preovulatory plasma progesterone increase.