Estrogen induction of plasma vitellogenin in the Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempi).
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Estrogen stimulation of the production of teh yolk protein precursor vitellogenin was demonstrated in immature Kemp's ridley sea turtles. 17beta-Estradiol injection elicited an increase in serum estrogen, protein, protein phosphorus, and total calcium within 7 days. Associated with these changes was the appearance of a single, dimethylformamide-precipitable, 205-kDa estradiol-induced serum protein, which became the predominant serum protein identified by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The effects of estradiol injection were maintained for 3 months following termination of estradiol administration, despite a decline in serum estrogen levels. Although studies in other species have indicated that changes in circulating vitellogenin levels can influence thyroid hormone transport, no changes were observed throughout the study in total blood levels of thyroxine or triiodothyronine or protein binding of these hormones. We conclude that in the immature Kemp's ridley estrogen induces the synthesis and secretion of a vitellogenin which resembles that of other reptiles, but which does not influence thyroid hormone transport. The prolonged presence of vitellogenin in the blood may be due to a lack of an active ovarian uptake mechanism in these immature animals.