Ultrastructural changes in granulosa lutein cells and progesterone levels during preimplantation, implatation, and early placentation in the western spotted skunk
Sinha, A.A.; Mead, R.A.
Cell and Tissue Research 164(2): 179-192
ISSN/ISBN: 0302-766X PMID: 1201600 DOI: 10.1007/bf00218972
The ultrastructure of corpora lutea obtained during the preimplantation, implantation and early post-implantation periods was studied in 20 western spotted skunks. The fine structure of granulosa lutein cells was correlated with progesterone levels. The corpus luteum of the prolonged (7 mo.) preimplantation period contained undifferentiated small granulosa cells and differentiated large granulosa lutein cells. The former ranged in size between 12 and 20 .mu. and the latter between 20 and 45 .mu. The ratio of small and large cells was about equal in an animal 2 days prior to nidation whereas only a few small cells and numerous large cells were observed in an animal estimated to be 8 to 12 h from nidation. Occasionally small cells were observed amidst large ones during the 24 h nidation period, i.e., adhesion of trophoblast with the luminal uterine epithelium, but small cells were absent in animals after this period. Small cells had some smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum, rod-shaped mitochondria with plate-like cristae, small Golgi complex and relatively smooth plasma membranes. Large lutein cells had abundant smooth endoplasmic reticulum, membranous whorls of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, usually round mitochondria with tubular and lamellar cristae, a well developed Golgi complex, variable amounts of lipid droplets and highly plicated and ruffled plasma membranes. Peripheral plasma progesterone levels during the prolonged preimplantation period ranged between 1.1 and 7.9 ng/ml, but during implantation it was between 8 and 16.6 ng/ml. Plasma progesterone levels may fluctuate during the time of implantation and should not be regarded as a basis to predict actual nidation in the western spotted skunk.