Relationship of ovarian function to histochemical reactions

Leckie, F. Hamilton (1960) Relationship of ovarian function to histochemical reactions. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Histochemistry is accepted as a method for investigating body tissues and organ function, and although much research has been made into many human tissues, the ovary alone would appear to have been neglected; there do exist a few reports which deal with the histochemical findings in ovarian tumours, and also with the vasculature, but the present writer has not found any reports of any organised or formal study of the histochemistry of the human ovary. Such a study was undertaken by the writer, and it is this work and the results obtained which form the Thesis. In the first instance the mature human ovary was studied, sections being treated by a variety of staining techniques, the main ones being the Schiff reaction and various qualitative modifications of it, and the Sudan reaction. As a result of this a lipo-mucoprotein substance was discovered in the ovary, this substance being particularly associated with the follicular system, being found in the granulosa layer of the developing follicle, to a greater extent in the corpus luteum, and to a slight degree in association with the corpus albicans. Closer examination revealed that this substance was visualised in two forms - first, as granules within cells, and second, as globules apparently not contained within cells. (Figs. 1 and 2). It has been noted that there is greater evidence of this Schiff positive material in the corpus luteum associated with the pregnancy state than at any other time. Apparently not the result of break-down products, it seemed that this substance was intimately associated with activity of the ovary. Study of foetal/baby ovaries and of postmenopausal ovaries revealed that activity in these organs was not an infrequent occurrence, and particularly with regard to the foetal/baby ovaries, this activity was especially associated with a maternal pregnancy toxaemia. As in the mature ovaries, Schiff positive material was found related to the follicular bodies within these foetal/baby and post-menopausal ovaries. It seemed that the lipo-mucoprotein found in these ovaries might possibly be related to gonadotrophins, probably of pituitary origin, or perhaps with the ovarian hormones themselves; but whether the Schiff positive material revealed the presence of the actual hormones or merely a carrier substance, cannot be stated. In an attempt to resolve the question of the true nature and significance of this Schiff positive material, certain animal experiments were carried out. Animals - rabbits, rats, mice were injected with urine from both pregnant and non-pregnant women, and also with various hormonal preparations. As a result it was shown that urine from pregnant women and gonadotrophic hormones produced activity in the experimental animals, and further, that Schiff positive material, similar to that found in the human ovary, was associated with this activity, and in similar sites. The true nature of the material, however, remains unresolved. Discussion of the results of the investigation leads to the following conclusions: 1) The human ovary, when active, exhibits the presence of some substance which is demonstrable by histochemical procedures, in particular the Schiff reaction and its various modifications. 2) The Schiff positive substance is complex and would appear to be a mixture of lipoid and mucoprotein, the protein moiety probably containing tryptophan. 3) This Schiff positive substance is especially associated with the follicular system of the ovary. 4) It seems unlikely that this substance is either an artefact or due to simple breakdown products, but is in fact representative of some positive active phase in the ovarian cycle. 5) It seems more than likely that what in the past have been referred to as ovarian interstitial cells are in fact a terminal stage of the Schiff positive substance which is now reported. 6) Animal experiments show that the ovaries of rabbits, rats, and mice respond to stimulation in a way similar to that of the human ovary, and exhibit Schiff positive material under similar conditions. 7) Further investigation will be required in order to establish identification of the Schiff positive material.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: R A Lennie
Keywords: Histology, Biochemistry
Date of Award: 1960
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1960-72914
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06

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