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J. H. MARSTON and W. A. KELLY

Summary.

A simple suture, intra-uterine device (IUD), occupying almost the entire length of one uterine horn, was used to study the effect of an IUD upon conception in the ferret.

After being mated, ferrets were killed at 168 and 240 hr and at 14 days: additional animals were examined at laparotomy 21 days after mating and allowed to complete pregnancy or pseudopregnancy.

At 72 hr after mating, either the IUD or the control ovary and Fallopian tube were removed from two groups of ferrets that were subsequently examined at laparotomy 21 days after mating. After completing their pregnancy or pseudopregnancy these ferrets were mated for a second time and killed at 14 days.

An IUD was not completely contraceptive in the ferret, but it induced pre-implantation elimination of embryos from both uterine horns.

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G. A. Lincoln and R. W. Kelly

Summary. In Exp. 1, four groups of 8 yearling Soay rams were housed under long days (16L:8D) to induce reproductive quiescence and were treated daily for 12 weeks with: (I) vehicle (2 or 4 ml 50% ethanol/water), (II) ML23 (2 mg), (III) melatonin (2 mg) and (IV) melatonin and ML23 (2 mg of each). All treatments were given orally in the mid-light phase. In the rams receiving melatonin (Group III) there was an earlier increase in the plasma concentrations of FSH and testosterone and regrowth of the testes compared to the controls (time to maximum testicular diameter: 10·0 ± 0·5 and 15·3 ± 1·2 weeks). These differences were reversed after the end of the 12-week treatments when rapid testicular regression occurred in melatonin-treated rams but not in the controls. In the group receiving ML23 and melatonin (Group IV), there was early reactivation and regression of the reproductive axis as in the melatonin group (testis max. 9·9 ± 0·7 and 10·0 ± 0·5 weeks) while in the group receiving ML23 alone (Group II) there was a slower redevelopment and regression as in the controls (testis max. 15·7 ± 1·1 and 15·3 ± 1·2 weeks). The comparison between the 4 groups in the changes in the blood concentrations of prolactin, voluntary food intake and total body weight also indicated that the treatment with ML23 failed to modify the effect of melatonin (combined treatment vs melatonin) or the effect of the long day photoperiod (ML23 vs vehicle).

In Exp. 2, a more soluble derivative of ML23 (called ML23-lysine) was tested in two groups of 4 adult Soay rams which were housed under long days (16L:8D) and treated daily for 12 weeks, as above with: (I) melatonin (2 mg) and (II) melatonin (2 mg) and ML23-lysine (4 mg). In both groups there was a similar reactivation and regression of the testes with no significant differences between the two treatments.

The overall results illustrate that the treatments with melatonin in this protocol were effective at influencing a wide range of reproductive and non-reproductive measures in the ram, but that ML23 was unable to antagonize these biological effects of melatonin.

Keywords: ram; seasonal reproductive cycles; photoperiod; pineal gland; melatonin receptors

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A. A. Templeton, I. Cooper and R. W. Kelly

Summary. The PG concentrations in the semen of 23 fertile men were 73 μg PGE/ml, 267 μg 19-OH PGE/ml, 2·1 μg PGF/ml and 18·3 μg 19-OH PGF/ml. The wide ranges of concentrations found for the PGEs (2–272 μg/ml) and for the 19-OH PGEs (53–1094 μg/ml) throw some doubt on the previously established correlation between infertility and low prostaglandin concentrations.

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R. W. Kelly, I. Cooper and A. A. Templeton

Summary. The prostaglandin levels have been measured in a group of men with sperm concentrations greater than 300 × 106/ml and compared with the levels in men with sperm concentrations of 50 to 150 × 106/ml. The distribution of the PG levels in all groups was highly skewed but the data could be transformed to a normal distribution by taking logarithms. Comparison of the PG levels showed a highly significant lowering of the PG levels in the polyzoospermic group when compared with either of the groups with normal sperm concentrations.

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J. H. MARSTON, W. A. KELLY and P. ECKSTEIN

Summary.

In the naturally cyclic rhesus monkey, the presence of an intra-uterine device (IUD) did not obviously disturb the processes of (a) transport of the ovulated egg through the Fallopian tube; (b) transport of spermatozoa through the female genital tract; (c) fertilization, and (d) early embryonic development within the Fallopian tube.

Correlation of observations on egg recovery with those on the morphological age of the corpus luteum suggested that transport of the naturally ovulated egg through the Fallopian tube was completed within 3 to 4 days after ovulation in both the control and IUD monkeys.

Eggs could be recovered from the uteri of control monkeys, but usually not from those of IUD monkeys. It was concluded that the presence of an IUD probably induced pre-implantation destruction of embryos within the uterus of the naturally cyclic rhesus monkey.

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K. J. BETTERIDGE, W. A. KELLY and J. H. MARSTON

Summary.

The ovaries of sixty-seven rhesus monkeys were examined and photographed at known stages of 121 menstrual cycles. In eighty-three cycles, ovulation was diagnosed but, in thirty-two, the ovary showed a large Graafian follicle and, in six, there was no sign of follicular or luteal activity. The diagnosis of ovulation was confirmed in thirty-four cases by the recovery of an egg or cumulus clot and in another seventeen by histological examination of the ovary. Six diagnoses were supported by evidence from serial observations of the ovary, and a further twenty-six were based on single examinations. Fifteen ovaries were photographed both before and after ovulation.

The extremely variable appearance of proven ovulation points is illustrated and discussed. Morphological changes could not be detected on the surface of Graafian follicles within 24 to 48 hr of ovulation and it was impossible to predict when they would rupture. The age of a corpus luteum could not be estimated from the gross morphology of its ovulation point. Occasionally, corpora lutea were found to persist into succeeding menstrual cycles in forms that could be mistaken for recent ovulation points.

The hazards of diagnosing ovulation by examining the ovaries at laparotomy can be reduced by making serial observations and photographic records.

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W. A. KELLY, J. H. MARSTON and P. ECKSTEIN

Summary.

Morphological observations made on forty-nine uteri from twenty-three control and twenty-six IUD rhesus monkeys killed between Days 15 and 20 of their natural menstrual cycle, were related to the physiological condition of the corresponding ovary.

The only differences between control and IUD specimens of similar luteal age were the presence of (a) a markedly flattened surface epithelium in areas of contact with the IUD; (b) erosion of the surface epithelium and underlying stroma, with fibrosis and extensive leucocytic infiltration, in the lateral angles of the uterine lumen; (c) polymorphonuclear leucocytes lying immediately beneath the surface epithelium, together with variable leucocytic infiltration into the epithelium and the underlying stroma. These changes were not related to the physiological state of the ovary, previous surgery of the uterus, or to the length of time the IUD was retained in the uterine lumen.

A deciduomal reaction could be induced both in ovariectomized, hormonally-stimulated and in naturally cyclic monkeys as a response to endometrial trauma. In both groups, there was no difference in the appearance and proliferation of the deciduomal reaction in control and IUD monkeys.

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J. H. MARSTON, W. A. KELLY and P. ECKSTEIN

In the rhesus monkey, Macaca mulatta, mechanical traumatization of the endometrium at the sensitive stage of the menstrual cycle, or under the appropriate hormonal conditions, induces a superficial deciduomal reaction which is similar to the epithelial plaque formed during implantation (Hisaw, 1935; Hisaw, Greep & Fevold, 1937; Wislocki & Streeter, 1938; Rossman, 1940). A deciduomal reaction can be induced in the same way when the uterus contains an IUD (Kelly, Marston & Eckstein, 1969) and this suggests that the endometrium's sensitivity and responsiveness to a traumatic stimulus is not affected by the presence of an IUD. Mechanical trauma injures all the endometrial tissues, but the naturally implanting blastocyst provides quite a different stimulus, which is likely to affect just the surface epithelium of the endometrium. We have, therefore, extended our previous study and induced a deciduomal

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J. H. MARSTON, W. A. KELLY and P. ECKSTEIN

Summary.

Attempts to compare the pattern of myometrial activity in restrained, fully conscious, control and IUD rhesus monkeys by using a chronically implanted, strain-gauge transducer attached to the external surface of the uterus, were not successful.

'Egg transfers' were made to the uterus on Days 15 and 18 of the menstrual cycle using fertilized rabbit eggs and radio-active silver-110m-coated, resin spheres as natural and artificial substitutes for monkey eggs. There was no marked difference in the rate of egg recovery from control and IUD monkeys at 48 hr after transfer.

It was concluded that premature expulsion of the eggs from the uterus was not the principal contraceptive effect of an IUD in the rhesus monkey.

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J. A. Russell, P. L. Taylor and R. W. Kelly

Summary. The principal prostaglandin of human semen, 19 hydroxy PGE-1, inhibited spontaneous contractile activity of myometrium from non-pregnant women in vitro. This inhibition was similar to that caused by PGE-1. The inhibitory effects of natural 19 hydroxy PGE-1, prepared from semen of Macaca arctoides, were similar to those of synthetic 19 hydroxy PGE-1.