Corpora lutea were obtained from ten pregnant rhesus monkeys during implantation, and the ultrastructure of granulosa and theca lutein cells was characterized. Specimens were individually staged with regard to the extent of implantation and the relationship to the rise in circulating progesterone and estrogen which is characteristic of early pregnancy. Structural changes characteristic of granulosa lutein cells occurring during implantation included: change in form of endoplasmic reticulum from predominantly agranular tubules to predominantly granular cisternae; reduction in size and number of lipid droplets; increase in area occupied by the Golgi and increase in length of the cisternae of the Golgi complex; development of numerous microvillus‐lined intracellular spaces; increase in numbers of membrane‐bound dense bodies including peroxi‐somelike bodies, multivesicular bodies within lobopodia, and other lysosomelike bodies; and alterations of mitochondrial cristae. These changes were suggestive of the production of a secretory protein, rapid utilization of existing steroid precursor reserves for the production of progesterone, and a reduction in capability for steroid precursor accumulation and processing by granulosa lutein cells. Structural changes characteristic of theca lutein cells occurring during implantation included an increase in size and number of lipid droplets, an increase in agranular endoplasmic reticulum, and an increase in area occupied by the Golgi complex. These changes were suggestive of an increased capability for steroid precursor accumulation and processing, perhaps for estrogen production, by the theca lutein cells.
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