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ABSTRACT: Administration of oestradiol to ovariectomized baboons caused the epithelium of the cervix to differentiate into tall columnar cells that were ciliated or secretory. Administration of progesterone in the presence or absence of oestradiol altered the appearance of the lining epithelium, suggesting a decrease in secretory activity. Fluorographs of media from cultures of tissue from steroid-treated animals reflected changes in polypeptide biosynthesis which correlated with the morphological observations: 6 polypeptides (Mr 88,000-37,000; pI 5.5-6.0) were observed in all treatment groups and, except for relative changes in intensity, these polypeptides were electrophoretically similar to those synthesized by the endometrium. A new group of low molecular weight polypeptides (Mr 23,000-20,000, pI greater than 8.0-5.5) and a basic protein (Mr 160,000) were synthesized and released in the oestradiol-dominated animal. These polypeptides were distinct to the cervical mucosa since they were not observed in the endometrium or oviduct. Progesterone suppressed the synthesis of the low molecular weight acidic polypeptides (Mr 23,000-20,000; pI 6.1-5.5) but maintained the synthesis of the basic polypeptides (Mr 23,000-20,000; pI greater than 8). Treatment with progesterone +/- oestradiol did not appear to induce the synthesis of any new major polypeptides in the cervical epithelium. These results suggest that oestradiol induces the synthesis of a group of cervix-specific polypeptides and progesterone antagonizes the action of oestradiol in the baboon cervix.J Reprod Fertil 08/1989; 86(2):535-44.