Two peaks of rabbit serum EPF activity were seen over the course of pregnancy. Rabbit ovaries with or without attached oviducts were perfused in vitro for 5 h beginning 12, 16, 24, 48, 72 and 120 h after mating. Perfused isolated ovaries did not produce EPF in vitro, but significant EPF activity was detected in the perfusate of the ovary together with oviduct. Pseudopregnant animals and those rabbits that did not ovulate exhibited no perfusate EPF activity. Perfusate EPF activity was highest at the time embryos were at the pronuclear stage and continued through the morula stage. Although the location of embryos at 72 h after mating varied between oviduct and uterus, EPF activity was maintained over the perfusion period. The results suggest that EPF release occurs within 3 h of fertilization and that the presence of the preblastocyst embryo is crucial for EPF release.
ASJC Scopus subject areas