Interrelationships among plasma progesterone concentrations, luteal anatomy and function, and placental ontogeny during gestation in a viviparous lizard (Niveoscincus metallicus: Scincidae)
Bennett, EJ and Jones, SM, Interrelationships among plasma progesterone concentrations, luteal anatomy and function, and placental ontogeny during gestation in a viviparous lizard (Niveoscincus metallicus: Scincidae), Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A - Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 131, (3) pp. 647-656. ISSN 1095-6433 (2002) [Refereed Article]
Plasma progesterone concentrations were measured at six stages of gestation in the viviparous lizard Niveoscincus metallicus. Anatomical and functional parameters of luteal activity were also investigated. The diameter of the corpus luteum (CL) decreased gradually though gestation, as did the diameter of the luteal cells. Major degenerative changes were observed in CLs post-partum. Plasma progesterone concentrations were basal both prior to, and just after, ovulation; a rapid increase occurred in early gestation. Plasma progesterone concentrations remained elevated until late gestation, but fell some 2 weeks before parturition. In vitro production of progesterone was greater in CLs in mid- than in late-gestation, and the addition of prostaglandin F2α to the incubation medium had no effect on progesterone production. Non-luteal ovarian tissue and adrenals produced progesterone, but at approximately one-tenth the rate of production by CLs. Temporal correlations between the plasma progesterone profile and stages of placental development were also assessed. The rise in plasma progesterone concentrations occurs before differentiation of the chorioallantoic placenta, but progesterone is still high when it degenerates. We conclude that the CLs are the major source of gestational progesterone in N. metallicus.