Adrenergic and vasopressinergic contributions to the cardiovascular response to acute hypoxaemia in the llama fetus
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1. The effects of ft tal intravenous treatment with phentolamine or a vasopressinergic V-1-receptor antagonist on the fetal cardiovascular responses to acute hypoxaemia in the llama were investigated. 2. Six llama fetuses were surgically prepared between 60 and 70% of gestation under general halothane anaesthesia with vascular catheters and transit-time ultrasonic flow probes around a carotid artery and a femoral artery. At least 4 days after surgery all fetuses were subjected to a 3 h experiment: 1 h of normoxia, 1 h of hypoxaemia and 1 h of recovery while on slow I.V. infusion with saline. On separate days this experiment was repeated with fetal I.V. treatment with either phentolamine or a V-1-receptor antagonist dissolved in saline. 3. During saline infusion all llama fetuses responded to acute hypoxaemia with intense femoral vasoconstriction. Phentolamine during normoxia produced hypotension, tachycardia and vasodilatation in both the carotid and the femoral circulations. During hypoxaemia, fetuses treated with phentolamine did not elicit the pronounced femoral vasoconstriction and all died within 20 min of the onset of hypoxaemia. A V-1-receptor antagonist produced a femoral vasodilatation during normoxia but did not affect the fetal cardiovascular responses to acute hypoxaemia. 4. In conclusion, alpha-adrenergic and V-1-vasopressinergic mechanisms contribute to a basal vasoconstrictor tone in the femoral circulation in the llama fetus. The enhanced femoral vasoconstriction during acute hypoxaemia in the llama fetus is not mediated by stimulation of V-1-vasopressin receptors, but is dependent on alpha-adrenergic receptor stimulation. Such alpha-adrenergic efferent mechanisms are indispensable to fetal survival during hypoxaemia in the llama since their abolition leads to cardiovascular collapse and death.
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