Biology of Reproduction vol:46 issue:6 pages:1211-6
Immunoreactive inhibin was measured in plasma, amniotic fluid, gonads, and Wolffian bodies (mesonephros) of male and female chick embryos during the last week of their 21-day incubation period. The antiserum used was raised against bovine 31-kDa inhibin and was validated for RIA of inhibin in the chicken. Amniotic fluid concentrations of immunoreactive inhibin were relatively low and remained constant between Days 14 and 19. Plasma concentrations, in contrast, were high on Day 14 but declined steeply thereafter. Significantly higher plasma concentrations were noted in male than in female embryos and an even more pronounced sex difference was observed for the gonadal inhibin content. On Day 21, testes contained approximately 35 times more immunoreactive inhibin than ovaries. Surprisingly, inhibin contents in testes and male Wolffian bodies increased rather than decreased towards the end of the incubation period, indicating that gonadal and plasma inhibin concentrations are regulated, at least in part, independently. It is concluded that the chick embryo presents a convenient model for study of the secretion, the control, and the role of inhibin from fetal origin. The sex difference in plasma and gonadal inhibin suggests a differential role of inhibin in the development of the reproductive system of both sexes.