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The alcoholic extract of the roots of Polygonum hydropiper Linn. was fractionated by column adsorption chromatography. The various fractions obtained were tested for antifertility activity in female albino rats. Petroleum ether, petroleum ether +benzene (1:1 v/v) and benzene +chloroform (1:1 v/v) fractions prevented pregnancy in 8/10, 6/10 and 6/10 albino rats, respectively, while the first two fractions also caused resorption of implants by the completion of term. The other chromatographic fractions did not exhibit any antifertility activity.

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S. C. Sharma and S. K. Garg

There is now considerable evidence that prostaglandin (PG) F-2α of uterine origin is the luteolytic substance in several species (for reviews, see Weeks, 1972; Craig, 1975). Although the hormonal control of the synthesis and/or release of PGF-2α from uterine tissue is not fully understood, both oestrogen and progesterone may be involved. In the ovariectomized ewe PGF concentrations in the uterine tissue increase only when the animal is primed with progesterone and then treated with oestrogen (Caldwell, Tillson, Brock & Speroff, 1972). In the ovariectomized guinea-pig, however, PGF-2α synthesis can occur without prior treatment with progesterone (Naylor & Poyser, 1975). Although equivalent evidence is not available for other species, Lima, Gimeno, Goldraij, Benders & Gimeno (1971) found that treatment of ovariectomized rats with oestradiol-17β affected PGF-2α production only when used in small doses (i.e. 0·1 μg/day for 3 days); higher doses (i.e. 60 μg/day for 3 days) were ineffective. In the present investigation, the effects of various doses of oestradiol-17β on the yield of PGE and PGF from the uterine tissue and fluid of ovariectomized rats were further examined.

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Daucus carota Linn., a herb belonging to the Umbelliferae family, has been reported to possess antifertility activity (Chaudhury, 1966). Garg & Garg (1971a) reported encouraging antifertility activity in the alcoholic and aqueous extracts of the seeds of this herb in female albino rats. No work seems to have been done on the chromatographic fractionation of the different extracts of the seeds of this herb. It was considered worthwhile to undertake this study and the different fractions obtained were tested for antifertility activity in female albino rats.

The air-dried powdered seeds of Daucus carota Linn. were successively extracted with petroleum ether (b.p. 60 to 80° C), 95% alcohol and distilled water in a Soxhlet apparatus. The extracts were evaporated to dryness under reduced pressure. The residues obtained from the petroleum ether

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, Chandigarh-160014, and *Department of Pharmacology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

(Received 10th June 1974)

The use of nitrogen mustards as chemotherapeutic agents in the treatment of certain neoplastic diseases has been well established by a large number of workers (Montgomery, 1959; Creech, Breuninger, Hankwitz, Polsky & Wilson, 1960; Ross, 1962). A large number of different compounds have been screened in various test systems in vitro and in vivo for anticancerous, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifertility action and some useful results have been reported (see Mori, Clarkson, O'Connor Lawrence, 1962; Schmidt, Fradkin, Sullivan, & Flower, 1965; Burger, 1970). A series of substituted acetamidobenzene derivatives was screened for antifertility effects by the method of Khanna & Chaudhry (1968) to detect any antizygotic, blastocytotoxic, anti-implantation and abortifacient activity. The derivatives contained a mono- or bis-, 2-haloethyl moiety linked through a methylene group

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M. Daliri, K. B. C. Appa Rao, G. Kaur, S. Garg, S. Patil, and S. M. Totey

The temporal pattern of expression of genes for several growth factor ligands and receptors was examined in preimplantation water buffalo embryos and oviduct epithelial cells using RT-PCR. The identity of the resulting PCR products was confirmed by their expected size, restriction analysis, Southern blot hybridization and nucleotide sequence analysis. Preimplantation stage embryos from the one-cell to the blastocyst stage were derived after maturation, fertilization and culture of oocytes in vitro. Expression of members of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family was observed predominantly in preimplantation stage embryos and oviduct epithelial cells. Similarly, transcripts encoding insulin and IGF-I receptors were detected at each stage of embryonic development. The mRNA transcript of the IGF-I receptor was not detected in oviduct epithelial cells, but a prominent band corresponding to the insulin receptor was observed. Insulin and IGF-II mRNA were expressed as maternal transcripts that were not detected at the two- to four-cell stage but were present as zygotic transcripts at the eight-cell stage. Transcripts encoding IGF-I were detected in oviduct epithelial cells, but were not observed in any of the preimplantation stage embryos. Transforming growth factor (TGF) α and β and epidermal growth factor mRNA transcripts were not detected in any of the preimplantation stage embryos. These results indicate that IGF-I acts via a paracrine mechanism to promote growth and development of preimplantation water buffalo embryos. Similarly, IGF-II appears to act through a heterologous autocrine mechanism via the IGF-I or the insulin receptor. Furthermore, the presence of TGF-α in oviduct epithelial cells indicates that it may have a critical role during development.