General and Comparative Endocrinology (1997) 107: 450-460.

Béla Darvas, András Székács, Adrien Fónagy, Mihály Szécsi and István Tóth

Progesterone in Periplaneta americana and Neobellieria bullata adults from the procuticle phase until first progeny production

A significant amount of progesterone-like immunoreactive material (150 ng/g) was measured by EIA in the procuticle phase of adult of both sexes of Periplaneta americana. This peak markedly decreased to 1-10 ng/g during sclerotization and was unlikely to be of dietary origin. In the case of 0-hr old P. americana adults 96-98% of progesterone-like material was localized in the digestive tract and Malpighian tubules. In contrast, a relatively low level of progesterone-like immunoreactive material was measured in 0-hr-old Neobellieria bullata adults. Activity of 3beta-HSD/isomerase converting pregnenolone to progesterone was high (22-43 fmol/mg protein/20 min) in 0-hr old P. americana adults and significantly fell during sclerotization. High progesterone levels (13-16 ng/g), measured by HPLC-RIA, coexist with high levels of 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity. Orally active human contraceptives (ethisterone, ethynodiol, ethynodiol diacetate, lynestrenol, mestranol, norgestrel, norethynodrel, tamoxifen citrate, and mifepristone) which act on mammalian steroid receptors had no significant effects on progeny production in either polytrophic or meroistic insect ovaries even at concentration of 5000 mg/kg.