Postnatal growth and development of the glandular architecture of the ventral and dorsolateral lobes of the mouse prostate (VP and DLP) were investigated by microdissection techniques that permitted precise quantification of the numbers of primary ducts emerging from the urethra, the terminal ductal tips, and ductal branch-points. At birth both the right and left lobe of the VP consisted of 1-3 main ducts that had already undergone secondary and tertiary branching. In contrast, at birth the more complex DLP had 9-12 unbranched main ducts per lobe on both the right and left sides. During the first 15 days after birth, 80.7% of tips and 76.4% of branch-points of the adult gland formed in the VP, and 70.4% of tips and 53.6% of the branch-points formed in the DLP. Ductal branching was completed by 60 to 90 days. The DLP developed in three stages: first, formation of unbranched main ducts (first 10 days); second, distal branching of each main duct resulting in 3-5 terminal branches per main duct (10-15 days after birth); third, elaboration of intraductal mucosal infolding in distal ducts after 30 days of age. Ducts of the lateral prostate (LP), a ventrolateral subdivision of the DLP, initiated branching morphogenesis between 1 to 5 days after birth. The LP grew into and became embedded within the capsule of the VP, which may explain why the ductal architecture of these two lobes are similar. These heretofore unrecognized differences in the organogenesis and morphology of the mouse VP and DLP and the striking morphological heterogeneity both between and within the lobes of the mouse prostate may be morphological manifestations of functional heterogeneities within the prostate.
The development of a double antibody radioimmunoassay for a bovine pregnancy-specific protein (pregnancy-specific protein B; PSPB) is presented. By means of this assay, PSPB could be measured in serum of pregnant cows. Five dairy cows were bled throughout gestation to measure serum levels of PSPB. Serum concentrations (means +/- SE) exceeded 1 ng/ml by 30 days postbreeding and increased gradually through three months (9 +/- 0.6 ng/ml), six months (35 +/- 6 ng/ml), and nine months (150 +/- 75 ng/ml) of gestation. Maximum levels of PSPB (542 +/- 144 ng/ml) were reached two days before parturition and then steadily declined to less than 78 ng/ml by 21 days postpartum. In 21 cows bled daily from 15 through 30 days postbreeding, PSPB could be measured in a few cows before and in most cows by 24 days after breeding. In a commercial herd of 102 beef cows, the assay could detect pregnancy earlier and more accurately than the routine method of rectal palpation. This radioimmunoassay measures a unique antigen that, for the first time, provides a serological method for detecting pregnancy in cows.
The steroidogenic potential of various physiological compartments within the ovary of the hen were examined using in vitro systems. Three-hour incubations of individual whole small follicles (less than 1 mm-1 cm) or 100,000 collagenase-dispersed theca cells of the five largest ovarian follicles (F1-F5) were conducted in 1 ml of Medium 199 at 37 degrees C in the presence and absence of luteinizing hormone (LH) (0.39, 0.78, 1.56, 3.13 and 6.25 ng), progesterone (5 ng), and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, 5 ng). Steroid output was measured by radioimmunoassay of incubation media. Progesterone was not produced by small follicles although they are a major source of DHEA and estradiol and a significant source of androstenedione. Output of DHEA, androstenedione and estradiol was highly stimulated by LH. The substrate for androstenedione and estradiol in small follicles is probably DHEA. Output of DHEA and androstenedione in theca cells of F2-F5 was stimulated by LH in a dose-related manner. A dose-response relationship between estradiol output and the concentration of LH in media was not apparent in theca cells from F2-F5. Steroidogenesis in theca tissue of large follicles occurs predominantly via the delta 4 pathway. The ability of these theca cells to metabolize progesterone to androstenedione is lost between 36 and 12 h before ovulation. Their ability to metabolize DHEA to androstenedione is still present 12 h before ovulation. Aromatase activity is significantly reduced between 36 and 12 h before ovulation. These data indicate that both large and small follicles can be stimulated by LH. The small follicles are the major source of estrogen. As the large yolky follicles mature, steroidogenesis shifts from the delta 5 to the delta 4 pathway. By 12 h before ovulation, the F1 follicle has lost the ability to convert progesterone to androstenedione. The inability of the largest ovarian follicle to convert progesterone to androstenedione contributes at least in part to the preovulatory increase in the plasma concentration of progesterone that generates the preovulatory LH surge by positive feedback.
Spermatozoa from bulls, boars, dogs, horses, mice, and men were examined using a fluorogenic stain consisting of the membrane-permeant substrate carboxyfluorescin diacetate (CFDA) and the relatively membrane-impermeant nuclear stain propidium iodide (PI). Three distinct populations of spermatozoa were discernible in samples from each species upon microscopic examination. Individual spermatozoa, presumed to be viable because of their motility, retained products of the fluorescein chromophore throughout the cell. A second population of spermatozoa in which the nuclei stained red with PI retained the green fluorescein fluorophore mainly in the acrosome. A third population, presumed to be degenerate spermatozoa, possessed only red fluorescent nuclei. These populations were quantified using dual parameter flow cytometry in 14 samples of cryopreserved bovine spermatozoa for which fertility and seminal quality data were available. Flow cytometric analyses were highly correlated with other seminal quality measurements. Sequential flow cytometric analyses provided the ability to rapidly quantitate changes in specific fluorescently stained populations. The ability to make rapid quantitative measurements should allow development of new and presumably more reliable information on the functional aspects of spermatozoa.
Interrelationships between production of progesterone (P4), prostaglandin (PG) E2 and PGF2 alpha, and collagenase by periovulatory ovine follicles and their possible involvements in the ovulatory process were investigated. Follicles were isolated from ovaries at intervals (0 to 24 h) after the initiation of the preovulatory surge of luteinizing hormone (LH). Progesterone and PGs within follicles were determined by radioimmunoassay. Digestion of radioactive collagen during coincubation with tissue homogenates was used to assess the production of a bioactive follicular collagenase(s). Follicular accumulation of PGs and P4 increased at 12 and 16 h, respectively, after the onset of the surge of LH; PGE2 then decreased at 20 h. Collagenolytic activity of follicular tissue increased at 20 h and was maximal at 24 h (during the time of follicular rupture). An inhibitor of synthesis of P4 (isoxazol) or PGs (indomethacin) was injected into the follicular antrum at 8 h. Isoxazol did not prevent the initial rise in PGs, but inhibited synthesis of PGF2 alpha at 16 h and therafter. Isoxazol negated the decline in PGE2 and increase in collagenolysis. Indomethacin did not influence synthesis of P4; however, it suppressed collagenolytic activity of follicular tissue. Ovaries with treated follicles were left in situ and observed for an ovulation point at 30 h. Isoxazol or indomethacin was a potent inhibitor of ovulation. The blockade of ovulation by isoxazol was reversed by systemic administration of P4 or PGF2 alpha, but not by PGE2. Reversal of the blockade by indomethacin was accomplished with PGE2 or PGF2 alpha. Collagenolytic activity of follicular tissue was likewise restored by such treatments.
A wide range of experimental manipulations results in an anovulatory polycystic ovarian (PCO) condition in the rat. Although PCO has been studied in a number of these models, research has centered on the condition after it is well established rather than as it develops. Consequently, it is still not clear exactly what follicular cysts are or how and why they form. Therefore, we studied the development of PCO in rats treated with estradiol-valerate (EV). In this model, definitive cysts were present 8-9 wk after a single injection of EV. Animals were killed at 5, 11, 16, 21, 28 and 56 days after EV treatment. Serum was assayed for luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Ovaries were weighed and prepared for histologic examination. The ovaries were serially sectioned such that the number and size distribution of normal and atretic follicles could be assessed quantitatively. Oviducts were examined for the presence of ova. Immediately after EV treatment, ovulatory cycles ceased; by 16-20 days posttreatment, all animals exhibited persistent vaginal cornification. Basal concentrations of serum LH and FSH fell to a nadir at 11 days posttreatment, after which both gonadotropins exhibited a trend toward recovery. Within the first 28 days after treatment, ovarian weights declined significantly as did the total number of healthy follicles. Atretic follicles of all sizes were particularly numerous at 16 days. By 28 days, the decline in the number of healthy follicles reached a plateau. Numerous atretic, large secondary follicles were particularly prominent on the background of the decreasing number of normal follicles.
The role of progesterone in the regulation of the preovulatory surge in gonadotropins and ovulation was examined in this study by use of a potent antagonist of progesterone, RU 486 (17 beta-hydroxy-11 beta-[4-dimethyl-aminophenyl]-17 alpha- [prop-1-ynyl]estra-4,9-diene-3-one). The immature rat primed with pregnant mare's serum gonadotropin (PMSG) and the cycling adult animal were the models used to verify the role of progesterone. When RU 486 (200 micrograms/rat) was given as a single dose on the morning of proestrus, there was a significant reduction in the preovulatory surge levels of gonadotropins and ovulation in both animal models. Serum progesterone levels in both models at the time of death on the evening of proestrus were unaltered upon treatment with RU 486. RU 486 did not have any effect on gonadotropin levels in immature rats 7 days after castration. These results show that the actin of RU 486 on the preovulatory gonadotropin surge is due to an antagonism of the action of progesterone on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Thus, a role for progesterone in modulating the preovulatory surge of gonadotropins and, consequently, ovulation is strongly suggested.
Degenerative and regenerative changes in the ductal architecture of the ventral and dorsolateral prostates (VP and DLP) of the adult mouse were investigated in microdissected specimens over a time-course of 14 days following castration and subsequently during 14 days of administration of testosterone propionate. After castration, about 35% of the ductal tips and branch-points were lost in distal regions (usually near the capsule) in both prostatic lobes. By contrast, in more proximal regions of the prostate (closer to the urethra), the ducts survived in an atrophic condition. The ductal morphology that had been lost in the distal regions completely regenerated after testosterone propionate was administered to the castrated males. In the VP, androgen replacement simply returned the gland to its former size with moderate ductal distension; in the DLP, excessive epithelial infoldings and ductal distension were elicited in the distal regions of the ducts after 14 days of treatment with testosterone propionate. These results suggest that androgenic responsiveness and dependency are different in distal versus proximal ducts. Distal ducts are exquisitely androgen-dependent and androgen-sensitive; in proximal regions, androgen-dependency is not as strict.
Cyclophosphamide is an anticancer and immunosuppressive agent commonly used in men of reproductive age. The relationship between the effects of paternal cyclophosphamide treatment on the male reproductive system and the pregnancy outcome is unknown. To study this relationship, adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered saline or cyclophosphamide (1.4, 3.4, and 5.1 mg/kg) daily for 11 wk by gavage. Each male was mated weekly with two females in proestrous; 20 days later, the females were caesarean-sectioned and the number of corpora lutea, resorptions, and normal and abnormal fetuses were noted. After 11 wk of treatment, none of the drug-treated males showed any significant difference compared to controls with respect to male reproductive organ weights, serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone or follicle-stimulating hormone, epididymal sperm counts or fertility. Despite the apparent minimal effects of the treatment regimen on the male reproductive system, there were a number of effects on pregnancy outcome. There was a dose-dependent increase in preimplantation loss at 5-6 wk that was not evident at other times, a progressive dose-dependent increase in postimplantation loss starting at 2 wk, and an increase in malformed and growth-retarded fetuses at 3-4 and 7-9 wk. These results indicate that low dose chronic cyclophosphamide treatment of the male rat can affect the outcome of his progeny; such effects are seen in the absence of any apparent alteration of a number of measures of male reproductive function.
Ethylene dimethane sulphonate (DS) administered to adult male rats in a single dose of 75 mg/kg body weight results in a rapid destruction of Leydig cells which, in turn, is associated with a marked decline in levels of serum testosterone. For 24-72 h after treatment with EDS (post-EDS) the Leydig cells undergo degenerative changes consisting of chromatin condensation and cytoplasmic vacuolation, and testicular macrophages progressively remove Leydig cells from the intertubular tissue by phagocytosis. This results in the total absence of Leydig cells on Days 7-14 and the absence of any detectable specific 125I-hCG binding to testis homogenates. Associated with the low levels of serum testosterone, levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in serum rise, LH to levels found in castrate rats. Morphometric and 125I-hCG binding studies indicate that a new generation of Leydig cells develop from Day 21 and reach control levels by Day 49. Morphologic observations suggest that the Leydig cells arise by differentiation from a pool of connective tissue cells that includes fibroblasts, lymphatic endothelial cells and pericytes. The new Leydig cells, which appear around Day 21 post-EDS, have the features of fetal Leydig cells. The latter appear to transform into Leydig cells typical of normal adult rats between 35-49 days post-EDS. The differentiation of new Leydig cells is associated with a reestablishment of normal levels of testosterone 21 days post-EDS. Serum LH and FSH return to normal at 28 days and 49 days respectively.
Fertilization of mouse eggs by capacitated mouse sperm occurs readily in vitro in a defined culture medium designated medium CM, derived from Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate medium by supplementation with glucose, lactate, pyruvate, and albumin. Medium CM contains 25 mM HCO-3 equilibrated with CO2 to pH 7.4. Replacement of the CO2/HCO-3 buffer with 25 mM N-hydroxyethylpiperazine-N-ethanesulfonate (HEPES) while otherwise maintaining pH, ionic strength, and composition identical to that of medium CM, yielded medium HM in which the percentage of in vitro fertilization observed was consistently zero. Addition of 10 mM HCO-3 to medium HM yielded medium HMB, in which the percentage of eggs fertilized was 70%, equal to that observed in medium CM. This percentage applies to cumulus-free, zona-intact eggs. With zona-free eggs, the percentage fertilization increased to 90% in media CM and HMB, but remained zero in medium HM. This result shows that HEPES does not inhibit fertilization while omission of CO2/HCO-3 blocks it completely. Capacitation of mouse sperm, as determined by chlortetracycline fluorescence assay, proceeded at the same rate in media CM and HMB, but was retarded in medium HM. Sufficient sperm became capacitated, however, that this could not be the block of fertilization. The acrosome reaction in sperm bound to isolated zonae pellucidae, as also determined by chlortetracycline fluorescence assay, occurred with the same time course in media CM and HMB, but did not occur in medium HM.
In the ewe, two types of seasonal fluctuations in secretion of tonic luteinizing hormone (LH) have been described: a steroid-dependent change whereby estradiol gains the capacity to suppress LH pulse frequency in anestrus, and a steroid-independent decrease in pulse frequency in ovariectomized animals during anestrus. We have proposed that the former reflects activation, in anestrus, of estradiol-sensitive catecholaminergic neurons that inhibit gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Three results reported here support this hypothesis: dopaminergic (pimozide) and alpha-adrenergic (phenoxybenzamine) antagonists increased LH in intact anestrous ewes without altering pituitary responses to GnRH; other dopaminergic (fluphenazine) and alpha-adrenergic (dibenamine) antagonists also increased LH in anestrus; agonists for dopaminergic (apomorphine) and alpha-adrenergic (clonidine) receptors suppressed LH secretion in both seasons, suggesting that the appropriate receptors are present in breeding-season ewes. In contrast, catecholamines do not appear to mediate the steroid-independent suppression of pulse frequency; neither pimozide nor phenoxybenzamine increased LH pulse frequency in ovariectomized ewes during anestrus. When antagonists for 6 other neurotransmitter receptors (muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic, GABAnergic, serotonergic, opioid, and beta-adrenergic) were tested in anestrus, only cyproheptadine, the serotonergic antagonist, increased pulse frequency in ovariectomized ewes. Cyproheptadine had no effect on frequency during the breeding season. On the basis of these results, we propose that the steroid-dependent and -independent actions of anestrous photoperiod occur via catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons, respectively.
The cellular composition of ovine corpora lutea obtained during the early (Day 4), mid (Days 8 and 12), and late (Day 16) stages of the estrous cycle was determined by morphometric analysis. Individual corpora lutea were collected via midventral laparotomy from a total of 19 ewes. A center slice from each corpus luteum was processed for electron microscopy and subsequent morphometric analysis of the numbers and sizes of steroidogenic and nonsteroidogenic cells. Luteal weight progressively increased throughout the estrous cycle (p less than 0.05). Corpora lutea collected on Day 16 were assigned to one of two subgroups on the basis of gross appearance and weight: nonregressed (NR, 542 +/- 25 mg) or regressed (R, 260 +/- 2 mg). There were no significant changes in the proportion of the corpus luteum occupied by small luteal cells (19 +/- 2%) or large luteal cells (36 +/- 1%) throughout the estrous cycle. The total number of steroidogenic cells per corpus luteum increased from 21.8 +/- 3.7 (X 10(6)) on Day 4 to 61.7 +/- 5.4 (X 10(6)) on Day 8 (p less than 0.05) and remained elevated thereafter. The number of small luteal cells was 10.0 +/- 2.7 (X 10(6)), 39.7 +/- 1.4 (X 10(6)), 46.1 +/- 5.8 (X 10(6)), 49.0 +/- 13.7 (X 10(6)), and 29.9 +/- 8.6 (X 10(6)) on Days 4, 8, 12, 16 (NR), and 16 (R), respectively (p less than 0.05, Day 4 vs. Days 8, 12, 16 NR). In contrast, the number of large luteal cells was 11.8 +/- 1.5 (X 10(6)) on Day 4 and did not vary significantly during the remainder of the estrous cycle. The numbers of nonsteroidogenic cell types increased (p less than 0.05) from Day 4 to Day 16 (NR) but were decreased in regressed corpora lutea (Day 16 R). Regression was characterized by a 50% decrease (p less than 0.05) in the total number of cells per corpus luteum from 243 +/- 57 ( X 10(6)) on Day 16 (NR) to 125 +/- 14 ( X 10(6)) on Day 16 (R) (p less than 0.05). Small luteal cells remained constant in volume throughout the entire estrous cycle (2520 +/- 270 microns 3), whereas large luteal cells increased in size from 5300 +/- 800 microns 3 on Day 4 to 16,900 +/- 3300 microns 3 on Day 16 (NR) (p less than 0.05). In summary, small luteal cells increased in number but not size throughout the estrous cycle, whereas large luteal cells increased in size but not number.
Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS) previously detected in the Sertoli cells of the calf testis has been localized in the granulosa cells of the ovarian Graafian follicle by using an immunoperoxidase technique and a monoclonal antibody (IG8) to MIS that almost completely blocks its biological activity. The immunoperoxidase technique (avidin-biotin complex method) demonstrated specific localization of MIS in the cytoplasm of the ovarian granulosa cells in the bovine Graafian follicles over a wide age span, i.e. one day, one week, three months, two-and-a-half years and five years. The presence of MIS in the ovary implies a function that is as yet unknown.
Ventral and dorsolateral prostatic lobes (VP and DLP), obtained from mice at different ages and at different intervals after castration or treatment of castrated males with testosterone propionate (TP), were microdissected into two-dimensional arrays and incubated in vitro with 14C-thymidine. Labeled whole-mount specimens were fixed and dried onto glass slides, dipped into photographic emulsion, and processed autoradiographically. The morphological pattern of DNA synthetic activity was similar in the VP and DLP. During early postnatal periods (10-15 days after birth), DNA synthetic activity was highest at the distal ductal tips (near the capsule) and considerably lower in proximal ducts (near the urethra). At 30 days of age, DNA synthesis was almost totally confined to the distal ducts, with exceedingly low labeling in the proximal ductal areas. In the prostate of the intact or castrated adult, DNA synthesis was nearly absent throughout the gland, but silver grains were still observed on the ductal tips. During androgen-induced prostatic regeneration, DNA synthesis was detectable only in distal ducts 24 h after TP was administered. Labeling intensity reached a maximum on the third day of TP treatment in both distal and proximal ductal areas, thereafter, it subsided to focal labeling confined mostly to distal ducts. These results demonstrate that levels of DNA synthetic activity vary considerably within the prostate on a regional basis. Explanation of this heterogeneity in DNA synthetic activity within the prostate gland is fundamental to understanding the mechanism of androgenic regulation of prostatic growth and development.
An increase in intermediate filaments has been reported in rat uterine stromal cells undergoing decidualization in vivo and in vitro. In order to identify biochemical correlates of this morphological change, we have identified (two dimensional gel electrophoresis, Western blots, indirect immunofluorescent staining) the constitutive intermediate filament proteins of stromal cells decidualizing in vivo and isolated stroma decidualizing in vitro as vimentin and desmin. Vimentin is common to all uterine stromal cells but increases, proportional to total cell protein, in decidualized stroma. Barely detectable in nondecidualized stroma, desmin, unlike vimentin, increases during decidualization at a rate greater than the increase in total cell protein. Neither the increase in vimentin or desmin is observed in hormonally sensitized, nondecidual stromal cells. Desmin, because it is selectively expressed in decidualizing stroma, could be considered unique enough to serve as a marker of decidual cell differentiation.
Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of estradiol benzoate (EB), progesterone (P), ovine prolactin (oPrl), or their combinations on temporal patterns of serum luteinizing hormone (LH) and Prl and on nesting behavior in adult ovariectomized female turkeys. Levels of serum LH were initially reduced (p greater than 0.05) by the steroid treatments, while continuation of treatments induced surges of LH to levels comparable to pretreatment levels. Administration of steroid increased (p less than 0.05) levels of serum Prl, which persisted until termination of treatments. Administration of oPrl had no effect on levels of serum LH but blunted the steroid-induced release of Prl. Neither EB, P, nor oPrl treatments alone nor a combination of EB + P elicited nest occupation. Nest occupation was observed after administration of P only in turkeys pretreated with EB. Administration of oPrl maintained and advanced the P-induced nesting to persistent nesting behavior (incubation behavior). Once persistent nesting behavior was established, hormonal treatments were terminated, yet nesting behavior was maintained and serum samples showed increasing levels of Prl and decreasing levels of LH. It is suggested that incubation behavior in the female turkey is facilitated by the combined action of estradiol, P, and Prl.
A quantitative calculation was made of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) activity in preimplantation mouse embryos from the 2-cell through the late blastocyst stage. This activity varied with development and showed repeated high and low values. Peak activities occurred at both the 2-cell (15.8%) and compacted morula (13.6%) stages, with lowest activity at the development of the late blastocyst (3.2%). The metabolic effectors dimitrophenol (DNP) and phenazine ethosulfate (PES) had opposite effects on PPP activity. Dinitrophenol, although stimulating total CO2 production, virtually eliminated PPP activity while PES stimulated the pentose cycle activity 6-fold. These results indicated that the PPP was under metabolic control and that the embryos had a potential for much larger PPP activities. There was no correlation between the C-1/C-6 ratio obtained from the metabolism of [1-14C] and [6-14C] glucose and calculated PPP activities. A metabolic incubation chamber was devised for these experiments that exhibited certain unique features, including continuous collection of 14CO2 and 3H2O. Single embryos were placed in the chamber and sampled momentarily for metabolic activity. Subsequently, such embryos were successfully transferred to pseudopregnant recipients.
The relative significance of the accessory glands of the male reproductive tract in fertility is unclear. To clarify the role of the seminal vesicles, fertility and uterine sperm motility were determined before and after removal of seminal vesicles in the house mouse. After removal of seminal vesicles, the pregnancy rate (number of females pregnant/number of females X 100) was reduced and the time to birth was increased, while the average litter size was not changed. Fertilization, determined by examining the oocytes 30 h after mating, was highly variable after matings with males whose seminal vesicles were removed; in some cases none of the oocytes were fertilized. The motility of sperm recovered from the uterus 1 h after matings with males before and after seminal vesicle removal and sham operations was analyzed using a videomicrographic system. The motility of uterine sperm was less progressive with more lateral displacement of the head about the trajectory and a less linear trajectory after removal of the seminal vesicles. Sham-operated animals showed no consistent changes in motility of uterine sperm. The changes in sperm motility could contribute to the reduction in fertilization since sperm motility is necessary for transport in the female reproductive tract and interaction with the oocytes.
Pieces of theca interna or follicle wall (theca interna + attached granulosa cells), obtained from bovine preovulatory follicles prior to the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) and cultured for 3 days, secreted androstenedione. Luteinizing hormone, but not follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), increased production of androstenedione 3 to 4-fold. In both the presence and absence of LH, follicle wall preparations secreted about 4-fold more androstenedione than did equivalent amounts of theca interna tissue. Isolated granulosa cells produced only negligible quantities of androstenedione, which suggests that they may contribute to the greater production of androstenedione by follicle wall by supplying progestin precursor to the theca cells. The addition of pregnenolone or progesterone to isolated theca interna increased the secretion of androstenedione, but pregnenolone was by far the more effective precursor. This suggested that the delta 5 (delta 5) pathway is the preferred pathway for androstenedione synthesis by bovine theca cells and that granulosa cells might supply progestin precursor in the form of pregnenolone. Follicle wall and granulosa cell cultures secreted 2 and 7 times more pregnenolone, respectively, than did theca cultures. Luteinizing hormone, but not FSH, increased production of pregnenolone by the follicle wall, whereas the gonadotropins had no effect on secretion by either granulosa or theca cells. Since exogenous testosterone enhanced the production of pregnenolone by granulosa cells, thecal androgen (which is stimulated by LH) may increase the ability of granulosa cells to make pregnenolone and explain the stimulatory effect of LH on pregnenolone secretion by follicle wall.