Seven hundred and six bovine corpora lutea in various luteal stages were examined morphologically and endocrinologically to discover whether there is a relationship between the presence of a central cavity in the corpus luteum and infertility in cows. A central cavity was found in 42.1 per cent (80/190) of developing corpora lutea, 33.7 per cent (126/374) of fully developed corpora lutea, 11.1 per cent (7/63) of corpora lutea in regression and in 5.1 per cent (4/79) of corpora lutea in pregnancy. There was no significant difference between the rates of appearance of midcycle follicles in corpora lutea either with or without a central cavity. The proportion of luteal cell type 1 was higher in fully developed corpora lutea with a central cavity than without, but the reverse was found with luteal cell type 2. In fully developed corpora lutea the concentration of progesterone in the luteal tissue was significantly higher in corpora lutea with a central cavity. These results suggest that there are some differences in luteal function between corpora lutea with and without a central cavity, but that the presence of a central cavity in a corpus luteum cannot be described as a pathological condition.
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