Corpus luteum

 

After the release of the egg, the Graafian follicle is converted into corpus luteum by the luteinization of the granulosa and other cells. This leads to large production of steroids mainly progesterone that influences endometrial changes and becomes converted from endometrium to decidua at implantation. Corpus luteum of menstruation is first formed and is converted to corpus luteum of pregnancy at implantation. This is associated with gonadotropins produced from the implantation embryo mainly human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which superintends the conversion. Without pregnancy there would be no hCG and without hCG pituitary gonadotropin which is already  unsustainable since they fall sharply at the  end of the cycle, will be unavailable to maintain the corpus luteum. The result is the degeneration of the corpus luteum to be replaced by white fibrous tissue called corpus albicans.

Corpus luteum consists of granulosa and theca cells that have become luteinized so that they can be the site for intense production of steroid hormones.

Ultrastructural changes that accompany the process of luteinization include the formation of lipid inclusions, the conversion of rough endoplasmic reticulum  to smooth variety so that smooth endoplasmic reticulum become numerous, and the increase in the size of the cytoplasm. The cells become transformed into corpus albicans with the development of numerous lysosomes which help to digest the organelles.

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