(1/462) Prolonged mating in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) increases likelihood of ovulation and embryo number.

Prairie voles are induced ovulators that mate frequently in brief bouts over a period of approximately 24 h. We examined 1) impact of mating duration on ovulation and embryo number, 2) incidence of fertilization, 3) temporal pattern of embryo development, 4) embryo progression through the reproductive tract over time, and 5) embryo development in culture. Mating was videotaped to determine first copulation, and the ovaries were examined and the reproductive tracts flushed at 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, and 24 h and 2, 3, and 4 days after first copulation. The number of mature follicles and fresh corpora lutea and the number and developmental stage of embryos were quantified. One, two-, and four-cell embryos were cultured in Whitten's medium. Mature follicles were present at the earliest time examined (6 h). Thirty-eight percent of females that had been paired for < 12 h after the first copulation ovulated, whereas all females paired >/= 12 h after the first copulation ovulated. Virtually all (> 99%) oocytes recovered from females paired for >/= 12 h after first copulation were fertilized. Pairing time after first copulation and mean copulation-bout duration were significant (p < 0.05) determinants of embryo number. Embryos entered the uterine horns and implanted on Days 3 and 4, respectively, after first copulation (Day 0). Embryos cultured in vitro underwent approximately one cell division per day, a rate similar to that in vivo. We conclude that prairie voles ovulate reliably after pairing for >/= 12 h, although some females showed exceptional sensitivity not predicted by the variables quantified. Prolonged mating for longer than 12 h increased the total embryos produced. This mechanism likely has adaptive significance for increasing offspring number.  (+info)

(2/462) Effect of pelvic endometrial implants on overall reproductive functions of female rats.

The effects of pelvic endometrial implants on the overall reproductive potential of female rats were investigated. After homologous transplantation in the peritoneum, the ectopic endometrium developed into highly vascularized nodes that gradually increased in mass until the 9th week postsurgery and then plateaued. In the presence of these implants, overall reproductive function was adversely affected. The effect was of greatest magnitude during 50-70 days posttransplantation. As compared with values in corresponding controls, ovulation was reduced by 43% (6 of 14) (p < 0.05), mating rate was reduced by 44% (12 of 27) (p < 0.025), and premature termination of pregnancy occurred in 34% (5 of 15) of rats. Wastage of pregnancy, which included complete termination or reduction of fetal number, occurred during the postimplantation course of gestation. Furthermore, 100% of the rats with transplants failed to respond to the copulomimetic stimulation for the induction of pseudopregnancy (p < 0.01, compared with corresponding controls). However, on exposure to vasectomized males, 46% (6 of 13) of these rats exhibited development of pseudopregnancy (p < 0.05, compared with corresponding group receiving copulomimetic stimulation). Increased rate of mating failure and differential pseudopregnancy rates after copulomimetic and natural cervical stimulation suggest that the rats with endometrial explants possibly had an absence or a short appearance of behavioral estrus. Hormonal assessment during the preovulatory phase showed a tendency toward lower mean levels of preovulatory estradiol and significantly lower LH (p < 0.01) and progesterone (p < 0.01) concentrations. The adversely affected reproductive functions may be a secondary consequence of these altered endocrine milieus.  (+info)

(3/462) Control of oocyte maturation in sexually mature Drosophila females.

In many sexually mature insects egg production and oviposition are tightly coupled to copulation. Sex-Peptide is a 36-amino-acid peptide synthesized in the accessory glands of Drosophila melanogaster males and transferred to the female during copulation. Sex-Peptide stimulates vitellogenic oocyte progression through a putative control point at about stage 9 of oogenesis. Here we show that application of the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene mimics the Sex-Peptide-mediated stimulation of vitellogenic oocyte progression in sexually mature virgin females. Apoptosis is induced by 20-hydroxyecdysone in nurse cells of stage 9 egg chambers at physiological concentrations (10(-7) M). 20-Hydroxyecdysone thus acts as an antagonist of early vitellogenic oocyte development. Simultaneous application of juvenile hormone analogue, however, protects early vitellogenic oocytes from 20-hydroxyecdysone-induced resorption. These results suggest that the balance of these hormones in the hemolymph regulates whether oocytes will progress through the control point at stage 9 or undergo apoptosis. These data are further supported by a molecular analysis of the regulation of yolk protein synthesis and uptake into the ovary by the two hormones. We conclude that juvenile hormone is a downstream component in the Sex-Peptide response cascade and acts by stimulating vitellogenic oocyte progression and inhibiting apoptosis. Since juvenile hormone analogue does not elicit increased oviposition and reduced receptivity, Sex-Peptide must have an additional, separate effect on these two postmating responses.  (+info)

(4/462) 17beta-estradiol rapidly facilitates chemoinvestigation and mounting in castrated male rats.

Testosterone and estradiol act synergistically to stimulate male sexual behavior. Previous studies demonstrated that testosterone's actions are mediated genomically. Attempts to show that estradiol acts in a similar fashion have been inconclusive. However, estrogens have been shown to exert short-latency effects by acting directly on neuronal membranes. The present experiment examined whether testosterone or estradiol rapidly facilitates copulatory behaviors in castrated sexually experienced rats. Within 35 min of administration, estradiol stimulated chemoinvestigation and frequency of mounting and reduced mount latency in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, acute administration of testosterone did not alter sexual activity. These data demonstrate for the first time that estradiol exerts short-latency effects on copulatory behavior, providing indirect evidence that this action is mediated through a nontranscriptional mechanism.  (+info)

(5/462) Sperm transport and storage in the agile antechinus (Antechinus agilis).

This study was an examination of the timing of ejaculation and the dynamics of sperm transport in the female reproductive tract of the agile Antechinus (Antechinus agilis) and the relationship of these parameters to single and multiple matings. Mating in this species is characteristically long compared with that of other mammals, lasting for up to 8-12 h during which time the pair remain locked together. After the first hour of mating, only approximately 40% of males had ejaculated, but by the third hour all males had ejaculated. The total number of spermatozoa extracted from the female tract remained at approximately 30 x 10(3) spermatozoa per side over the next 9 h of copulation. After completion of male/female access (12 h), approximately 56% of spermatozoa extracted were located in the lower isthmic region of the oviduct where specialized sperm storage crypts are located. The number of spermatozoa extracted from the female reproductive tract did not decline over the next 3 days, but there was a change in the distribution of spermatozoa with an increase in the proportion of extracted spermatozoa stored in the lower isthmus (approximately 76%). However, 7 to 14 days after mating, only approximately 30% of the stored spermatozoa ( approximately 9.4 x 10(3) spermatozoa per side) were still present in the isthmus. When females were mated with a second male on a consecutive day, the sperm numbers extracted from the tract were about twice that deposited during single mating, with sperm transport to the lower isthmus occurring over a similar time frame. Although the occurrence of extended copulations in the wild has not yet been confirmed, these laboratory results suggest that similar periods of copulation are likely, since completion of the ejaculation process requires at least 3 h. The extended copulation in A. agilis reduces the possibility of an early second mating, which might interfere with the normal transport and crypt colonization of spermatozoa through competition.  (+info)

(6/462) Induction of pseudopregnancy in the mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) by vaginal stimulation.

In rats, pseudopregnancy has been induced by mating with vasectomized males, by mechanical stimulation of the uterine cervix with a glass rod or vibrator, and by stimulation of the vagina with a tampon. On the other hand, no practical data are available in reports on the induction of pseudopregnancy in Mongolian gerbils. Pseudopregnancy of gerbils has been induced by mating with vasectomized males. But this method was uncertain because the incidence of pseudopregnancy was lower than that obtained in rats by other means. In the present study, two experiments were undertaken as follows. 1) Copulatory behavior of gerbils was observed for one hour to determine the most effective stimulation interval. 2) From the results of Experiment 1, female gerbils in estrus were mechanically stimulated to test the effectiveness of inducing pseudopregnancy by vaginal stimulation at various time intervals. The results of these experiments indicated that, although the frequency of copulatory behavior varied among individuals, on average the most effective method for inducing pseudopregnancy was stimulation of 5 min duration and at 20 or 30 min intervals. Because the incidence of pseudopregnancy induced by such mechanical stimulation (83.3%) was higher than that induced by mating with vasectomized males (30.0%), this method might be useful in inducing pseudopregnancy in Mongolian gerbils.  (+info)

(7/462) TGFbeta-like signaling and spicule development in Caenorhabditis elegans.

A TGFbeta-like signal is required for spicule development in Caenorhabditis elegans males. This signal appears to originate in the male-specific musculature and is required for the migrations of cells within the proctodeum. The migrations of these cells form cellular molds, the spicule traces, in which the cuticle of the spicules is secreted. Mutations in daf-4, sma-2, sma-3, and sma-4, which disrupt TGFbeta-like signaling, result in aberrant migrations and morphologically abnormal spicules. daf-4, and hence the TGFbeta-like signal, is required prior to or during cell migrations. Therefore, the TGFbeta-like signal may act to prime the migrating cells or as a guidance cue. Mutations in lin-31 result in identical cell migration and spicule morphology defects. Thus, lin-31, which encodes a "winged helix" protein (Miller et al., Genes Dev. 7, 933-947, 1993), may be a component of this TGFbeta-like signaling pathway.  (+info)

(8/462) Behavior and endocrine changes in high-performing, low-performing, and male-oriented domestic rams following exposure to rams and ewes in estrus when copulation is precluded.

High-performing, low-performing, and male-oriented rams were used to investigate behavior and neuroendocrine correlates of sexual interest and discrimination. Treatment consisted of visual and olfactory contact with stimulus animals through a woven wire fence, which inhibited copulation (either ewes in estrus or other rams), for 4 h on each of three consecutive days. Before exposure to stimulus animals on d 1 and during the final 1 h of exposure on d 2, blood samples were collected every 15 min for 1 h to determine concentrations of LH and testosterone. During exposure to stimulus animals, rams were continuously observed and investigatory behaviors were recorded. There was no day effect for any behavior. Groups of rams differed (P < .05) in amounts of behaviors exhibited, but behaviors were not influenced by sex of stimulus animals. High-performing rams exhibited more (P < .05) investigatory behaviors toward stimulus animals than low-performing or male-oriented rams. Plasma concentrations of LH increased (P < .05) in high-performing rams following exposure to estrous ewes, but not following exposure to rams. In low-performing and male-orientated rams, concentrations of LH were unchanged regardless of sex of the stimulus animal. Change in plasma concentrations of testosterone from pre- to posttreatment did not differ between high-performing, low-performing, and male-oriented rams. However, low-performing rams exhibited an increase (P < .05) in plasma concentrations of testosterone following exposure to rams. In conclusion, high-performing rams exhibit a high degree of investigatory behaviors toward estrous ewes and other rams. High-performing rams seem to discriminate sex of stimulus animals and exhibit a neuroendocrine response (i.e., increased plasma LH) only when exposed to ewes in estrus. The sensory signals provided by estrous females are either not detected by low-performing or male-oriented rams or are not sufficiently provocative to elicit further investigation by these rams.  (+info)