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J Reprod Fertil Suppl. 1982;32:343-52.

Studies on oestrogen synthesis by the preimplantation equine conceptus.


Aromatase activity measured by the incorporation of [3H]androstenedione into unconjugated and conjugated oestrogens was detectable in the equine conceptus during early pregnancy. Activity was substantially higher in yolk sac compared to allantochorion between Days 20 and 52 after ovulation. Oestrone sulphate concentrations in yolk-sac fluid measured by radioimmunoassay increased markedly to reach values of about 3 micrograms/ml at Day 36, approximately 10-fold higher than those in allantoic fluid. Extra-embryonic membranes in a 28-day conceptus all contained aromatase (chorionic girdle greater than trilaminar omphalopleure greater than bilaminar omphalopleure greater than allantochorion), implying that the enzyme complex was present in trophoblast and/or endoderm rather than mesoderm. Aromatase activity in chorionic girdle cells was low before their migration into the endometrium. Endometrial tissue contained substantial sulphotransferase and glucuronidase activity. The ability of the preimplantation equine conceptus to synthesize oestrogens was strikingly similar to that found previously in the pig; in both species the allantochorionic placenta is non-invasive.

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