A detailed procedure is presented for the assay of plasma progesterone. The routine assay is based on the use of antiserum which is covalently linked to microcrystalline cellulose, the double-antibody method being used as a reference separation system. This procedure gives high precision accompanied by small and acceptable losses of antiserum titre but without loss of sensitivity when compared with the double-antibody method. Ethanol is first added to the plasma (10vol. of plasma+1vol. of ethanol) after which a single extraction with light petroleum yields a constant recovery [92.4±1.2 (s.d.)% of added [3H]progesterone] and obviates the need for tracer recoveries on each sample being assayed. Distortions of the response curve owing to solvent residues have been almost eliminated. The assay can measure progesterone at all stages of the menstrual cycle when volumes of 200μl of plasma are used and this permits the detection of the periovulatory rise at its inception. Detailed specificity studies are presented for the assay end point itself and these are related to the responses to be expected in extracts of plasma. Progesterone-like activity was found in urine and a fourfold increase in excretion rates was observed between the follicular and luteal phase of the normal menstrual cycle.

This content is only available as a PDF.