The bovine ovary contains a considerable number of leucocytes which can be located with an antibody against the CD18 molecule. In the present study, subtyping and cell counting were carried out on histological sections stained with Sirius red for eosinophils and with toluidine blue for mast cells. The CD18(+) cells were identified immunohistologically. Eosinophils and mast cells contributed considerably to the CD18(+) pool. The number of eosinophils in the corpus luteum increased rapidly in early development to approximately 90% of the CD18(+) cells, and decreased to 30% during secretion and to 10% during regression. Mast cells were not detectable in the follicles, the corpus luteum and the periphery of the cortex, but were observed in the interstitial cortical stroma and the medulla. The number of mast cells in these regions, which corresponded to 60-76% of the CD18(+) cells, did not change significantly throughout the oestrous cycle. It is concluded that eosinophils are selectively recruited at the periovulatory period and that mast cells are unevenly distributed.
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