1. A method is given for the extraction and fractionation of rabbit urines which frees these urines of inactive chromogens but permits a quantitative recovery of estrone and estriol for the colorimetric determination of these compounds.
2. Estrone and estriol content of rabbit urine extracts can be determined by the concentration of the colored compound they form upon diazotization with sulfanilic acid and by the modified phenolsulfonic acid test of Cohen and Marrian. Estriol can be determined by the specific reaction first described by David. The technique for these tests is presented.
3. Estriol (300 micrograms) injected into rabbits (a) in heat, (b) pregnant, (c) pseudopregnant, (d) hysterectomized in heat, (e) hysterectomized pseudopregnant, (f) ovariectomized, is excreted in the urine as estriol. Rabbit does in the luteal phase (b, c, and e) excrete 3 to 4 times the amount of estriol excreted by females without corpora lutea (a, d, and f).
4. When estrone (300 micrograms) is injected into the same types of rabbit does types a, b, and c excrete both estrone and estriol, type f excretes both estrone and estriol shortly after ovariectomy, but only estrone at 2 months after castration. Hysterectomized animals (types d and e) never excrete estriol after estrone injection. The total urinary estrin (estrone plus estriol) in estrone-injected animals is increased 2 to 3 times in animals in the luteal phase (b, c, and e).
5. It is concluded that the uterus is the site of conversion of estrone to estriol, and that the conversion cannot take place in a uterus completely free of ovarian control (e.g., in long time ovariectomized animals).
6. In neither estrone-injected nor estriol-injected females is all the injected hormone recovered in the urine. The maximum recovery is 66 per cent. When estrone-benzoate (600 micrograms) is injected 94–98 per cent of the hormone is recovered from animals in the luteal phase (types c and e) and about 79 per cent in an ovariectomized female (type f). These data are taken to indicate that luteal secretions give partial protection against destruction to the hormones.
7. The observation that in certain of the urine extracts the hormone titer by bioassay is somewhat higher than the colorimetric titer may indicate that there is a slight conversion of estrone to estradiol, particularly since no equilenin was found in any of the extracts by colorimetric test.
8. The simultaneous injection of 300 micrograms of estrone and 500 micrograms of progesterone 4 days after an initial injection of 300 micrograms of estrone results in: (1) an increased estrin excretion in females in heat, hysterectomized unmated, and ovariectomized, and a slight decrease in the pseudopregnant female; (2) the appearance of estriol in the urine of the long time ovariectomized animal with no urinary estriol in a control ovariectomized animal receiving no progesterone. These findings are taken to prove that the conversion of estrone to estriol occurs in the uterus under the influence of progesterone. Since animals in heat produce small amounts of estriol after estrone injection it is inferred that the ovaries of estrus rabbits produce small amounts of corpus luteum hormone in the absence of formed corpora lutea.