During pregnancy in mice, three groups of corpora lutea (CL) originating from 4 successive ovulatory cycles could be distinguished taking into account their size, cellular structure and stain affinity. Type I CL originated at the onset of pregnancy, type II CL originated during the 2 previous estrous cycles and type III CL were produced during a cycle preceding the two others. CL volume of type I increased 10-fold between day 0 and day 18.5, a 2.5-fold increase in volume occurred in type II CL between day 0 and day 3, although they derived from cycles preceding pregnancy. The volume of type III remained unchanged. This fact suggested that types I and II CL probably play a functional role in the ongoing pregnancy. After day 10 of pregnancy a high correlation coefficient (r = 0.933) is observed between type I CL and the number of embryos in the corresponding uterine horn.

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