Prostaglandin Control of the Renal Circulation in Response to Hypoxemia in the Fetal Lamb in Utero

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We studied the effects of 10-minute periods of hypoxemia in unanesthetized fetal lambs in utero instrumented for measurements of arterial pressure and renal and iliac blood flows. Fetal hypoxemia, induced by delivering a hypoxic gas mixture to the ewe, was characterized by a reduction in fetal Path from 20.1 ± 1.4 to 8.8 ± 1.0 mm Hg (mean ± SE). The fetus responded with bradycardia and persistent vasoconstriction in the iliac bed throughout the 10-minute period. In contrast, renal resistance rose significantly only at the end of the hypoxemic period. After 5-7 minutes of hypoxemia, when iliac flow had fallen by 40 ± 4% and iliac resistance had risen by 86 ± 13%, renal flow and resistance were not changed significantly from control; in fact, we found that renal flow rose substantially at this time in several fetal lambs. After blockade of prostaglandin synthesis with either indomethacin or meclofenamate, renal flow fell after 5-7 minutes of hypoxemia by 36 ± 5%. The reduction in renal flow and increases in renal resistance were significantly greater than was observed prior to blockade of prostaglandin synthesis. Thus, fetal hypoxemia elicits bradycardia and intense peripheral vasoconstriction reflected by the changes in the iliac bed, with relative sparing of the renal bed. The relative protection of the renal bed during fetal hypoxemia appears to be related to a mechanism involving prostaglandins, since after blockade of prostaglandin synthesis, hypoxemia results in intense renal vasoconstriction. Ore Res 45:173-179, 1979

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