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Sex Hormone Therapy in Experimental Peripheral Gangrene *

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SEX HORMONE THERAPY IN EXPERIMENTAL PERIPHERAL GANGRENE* R. M. THOMAS The administration of ergot or ergot derivatives has been shown to result in a continuous spasm of the muscular coat of peripheral arteries, leading to cyanotic induration, ulceration, and, in many instances, to gangrene of the tissues.1' 25,7 In 1935, McGrath reported4 that female albino rats could be protected from the more severe manifestations of ergotamine intoxication by the daily injec- tion of ovarian follicular hormone (Theelin). He found that male rats similarly treated with Theelin were not protected, although the onset of ulceration and gangrene was delayed. In view of the greater incdence of peripheral vascular disease in men as compared with women, these experimental findings attracted considerable interest. Further reports on the use of ovarian hormone therapy in experimental ergotamine intoxication were published in 1938 by Loewe and Lenke8 and by Suzmann, Freed, and Prag.' Employing the methods used by McGrath, Loewe and Lenke were unable to produce gangrene in the tails of all their rats by a single injection. They found, however, that divided doses given over a three-day period did result in the development of gangrene in 100 per cent of their animals. They then tested the effects of Theelin and of Progynon-B (Schering), as well as the effects of castration of male rats, on the course of ergotamine intoxication. With daily doses of from 2 to 10 rat units of Theelin per day, as recommended by McGrath, no changes were noted; the amount was raised to 30 rat units and finally to 500 rat units per day of Progynon-B without effect. On the other hand Suzmann, Freed, and Prag, using similar methods, reported that repeated daily doses of 500 I. U. of cestro- form afforded female rats complete protection from gangrene of the tail, while male rats were only slightly affected. It must be noted that while no definite quantitative relationship- can be deter- * From the Laboratories of Pathology, Yale University School o

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