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Studies on sex-organ development. Oestrogenic effect on ornithine decarboxylase activity in the differentiating Müllerian ducts and other organs of the chick embryo.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology


The activity of ornithine decarboxylase in the differentiating left and right Müllerian ducts was assayed and compared with that in other embryonic organs, i.e. the liver and the brain throughout the stages of development. In general the enzyme activity was high in the early stages and decreased extensively in the late stages of development. Specifically, in the left and righ Müllerian ducts, the enzyme activity was high from day 8 to day 9 of incubation. In the right duct the enzyme activity started to decline on day 9 and then continuously decreased to an almost undetectable value on day 18 of incubation. In the left duct the enzyme activity also decreased slightly from day 9 to day 12; however, it increased from day 13 to day 15 and finally decreased to a constant value from day 18 until hatching. The alteration in enzyme activity in the Müllerian duct as assayed in vitro during development is not due to the effect of the size of the endogenous ornithine pool. When the enzyme activity was subjected to oestrogen stimulation, an increase of 5--10-fold for the left duct and of 5--3-fold for the right duct was observed during the course of development. No such stimulation was observed with the treatment of progesterone. Testosterone consistently caused a 25--30% inhibition of the enzyme activity in the Müllerian duct. Oestrogen slightly stimulated the enzyme activity in the developing liver but inhibited that of the brain. The concentration of the three polyamines measured in the Müllerian duct corresponds to the activity of the enzyme determined.

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