Changes in the epithelium of the maternal pouch and the mammary gland of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) were examined after animals were treated to induce ovulation with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), pregnant mares' serum gonadotrophin (PMSG) and oestradiol. The mammary glands were similar in appearance to those described in eutherian mammals and in previous studies on other marsupials. Exposure of possums to these compounds, particularly PSMG, appeared to result in changes in the mammary glands that could be associated with milk/secretion production. In contrast, the pouch epithelium had a similar histological appearance to that of epithelium from other parts of the body regardless of whether the animal was exposed to stimulants. These preliminary observations are discussed in the context of the purported role of the pouch epithelium and the mammary gland in production of secretions at oestrus and provision of immunological protection to the neonatal marsupial.
- Brushtail possum
- Mammary gland