Summary. The present study reports steroid metabolism by corpora lutea (CL) obtained from skunks with diapausing embryos ('delay' CL) and with activated embryos (activated CL). CL from both reproductive periods were incubated with various radioactive precursors. Control incubations without any tissue or with 50 μl of packed skunk blood cells were also conducted simultaneously. Incubation of skunk CL with [3H]pregnenolone for 3 h resulted in 36% of the precursor accumulating as progesterone. Metabolism of [3H]dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to androstenedione proceeded with approximately the same amount of product accumulating (34–46%) as was observed in the conversion of pregnenolone to progesterone. These results suggest that Δ5 isomerase, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, is the most prominent enzyme in skunk CL. Metabolism of [3H]pregnenolone to 17α-hydroxypregnenolone and [3H]progesterone to 17α-hydroxyprogesterone occurred at low rates (1–7%), suggesting the presence of C2l steroid 17α-hydroxylase in skunk CL. Aromatase activity, as estimated by measuring accumulation of oestradiol-17β from [3H]testosterone, was demonstrated in activated CL. These results suggest that skunk CL appear to metabolize steroids in a manner similar to CL of other mustelids such as the ferret and American badger.
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