Reproductive Biology of Chamaeleo Pumilus Pumilus with Special Reference to the Role of the Corpus Luteum and Progesterone
The morphology of the female reproductive tract and of the ovaries of the ovoviviparous C. pumilus was studied. Sperm storage organs were found in the vaginal region and changes in the histological appearance of the corpus luteum indicated a cyclic function similar to that found in mammals. Studies with 14C labelled leucine suggested that amino acid transfer occurred between the mother and the embryos. A radio-immuno assay of the progesterone content of the corpus luteum showed that the corpus luteum contains 56,8μg progesterone/g of fresh luteal tissue and that the mean plasma levels of progesterone increased from 945,6 pg/ml in non-gravid to 2296,0 pg/ml in gravid females. There also appears to be a post-ovulatory surge of progesterone (4946,0 pg/ml). Oestrogens were found to stimulate the oviducal mucosa while progesterone acted synergistically with oestrogen. Oestrogens also stimulated the production of serum protein fractions. Progesterone caused yolk regression and thus prevented the onset of the next follicular phase. Studies involving ovariectomy and progesterone replacement, indicated that progesterone and the corpus luteum are essential for the maintenance of gestation. It was concluded that several features of the reproductive biology of C. pumilus can be considered to be distinctly mammalian and that these features are of considerable evolutionary importance.