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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation of basal adrenocorticotropin and cortisol secretion by arginine vasopressin in the fetal sheep during late gestation.

This study tested the hypothesis that arginine vasopressin ( AVP) is involved in the regulation of basal ACTH secretion in the ovine fetus near term. In five fetuses challenged with AVP (1 microgram/ml, iv bolus) plasma ACTH concentrations increased to an 8-fold peak within 10 min of the preceding baseline (55 +/- 6 to 403 +/- 241 pg/ml). Cortisol in fetal circulation subsequently increased 2-fold (11 +/- 1 to 28 +/- 5 ng/ml) within 15 min of the AVP injection. The AVP-induced rise in plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations was blocked when the fetus was pretreated with the AVP V1 receptor antagonist d(Ch2)5Tyr(Me)AVP. In a total of seven studies, antagonist (10 micrograms/kg estimated BW, iv bolus) was administered to three fetuses, aged 137-147 days gestation, followed 40 min later by the exogenous AVP challenge, as described above. After AVP antagonist treatment, basal ACTH and cortisol concentrations were not significantly different from the preinjection baseline levels (P greater than 0.05, by analysis of variance). Moreover, plasma ACTH and cortisol remained unchanged after the AVP challenge. To further define the role of endogenous AVP in basal ACTH and cortisol secretion, the AVP antagonist was administered (five studies in two fetuses) at 30-min intervals for a total of three injections per fetus. This extended AVP antagonist regimen also failed to alter fetal circulating concentrations of ACTH or cortisol (P greater than 0.05). Cortisol in the maternal circulation was not affected by any of the fetal AVP or AVP antagonist treatments. Lambs were born at 146 +/- 2 days gestation (n = 5), within the range for the normal duration of pregnancy. These data do not support the hypotheses that AVP is involved in the regulation of basal ACTH secretion in the fetal sheep during the 10 days preceding parturition. Rather, the ability of AVP antagonist to block the AVP-induced rise in plasma ACTH and cortisol in the fetus suggests that basal and stimulated ACTH secretion are under separate regulatory mechanisms.[1]


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