Observations on the loss of catecholamine fluorescence from intrauterine adrenergic nerves during pregnancy in the guinea-pig

in Reproduction

Summary. During unilateral pregnancy in the guinea-pig there is loss of formaldehyde-induced fluorescence from the adrenergic nerves supplying the uterus and its vasculature. This loss occurs initially near the site of implantation at about Day 20 of gestation and spreads progressively. Implantation of wax pellets containing progesterone into the uterine lumen or the gastrocnemius muscle of virgin guinea-pigs for 7 days produced loss of fluorescence from all local adrenergic nerves. No diminution of fluorescence was seen when pellets containing oestradiol were substituted. Chronic denervation studies showed that the adrenergic axons supplying the uterus and its arteries originated from both the ovarian artery and the pelvic region. Our results suggest that loss of adrenergic fluorescence within the uterus during pregnancy is due to an effect of placental progesterone which is localized to the uterus because the high concentration of progesterone necessary to cause fluorescence loss is not attained in the systemic circulation.

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    Society for Reproduction and Fertility


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