Is Uterine Blood Flow Controlled Locally or Systemically in the Pregnant Rabbit?

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We tested the hypothesis that uterine blood flow is regulated by systemic circulating factors. The alternative hypothesis is that uterine blood flow is regulated by local factors.


Adult female New Zealand White rabbits were subjected to a unilateral tubal ligation and thereafter allowed to become pregnant (n = 9). A group of nonpregnant one-tube--ligated animals served as controls (n = 8). On day 21 of gestation uterine blood flow in the pregnant and nonpregnant uterine horns were measured with 15 microns microspheres. The concentration of prostaglandin E2 metabolites were measured in blood from the uterine veins and from the arterial circulation.


Absolute uterine blood flow in the pregnant uterine horn was 12.9 +/-4.7 versus 5.2 +/-1.4 ml in the nonpregnant horn (p < 0.05). However, when expressed by blood flow per gram of tissue they were not different (p > 0.1). The uterine blood flow for the nonpregnant uterine horn in the pregnant animals was the same as that of the horns from nonpregnant animals. The level of prostaglandin E metabolites was greater in the uterine vein draining the pregnant horn compared to the nonpregnant horn (p < 0.05).


These data support the conclusion that the increase in uterine blood flow observed during pregnancy is controlled largely by local factors induced by pregnancy. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1993;169:1507-9.)

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