Oxytocin release during parturition in the pelvic-neurectomized rat

in Journal of Endocrinology
View More View Less
Restricted access


Blood levels of oxytocin during parturition in pelvic-neurectomized rats were determined by radioimmuno-assay. Four out of 29 pelvic-neurectomized rats completed parturition within 23 days of pregnancy. These rats exhibited an increase in blood levels of oxytocin during parturition similar to those of sham-operated control rats, but delivery took longer and there was a higher percentage of still-births. The rise in blood levels of oxytocin was smaller in the 16 rats in which the first fetus was expelled but where delivery did not end within day 23 of gestation than that in sham-operated controls. Levels did not increase in the other nine rats which failed to deliver the first fetus within 23 days of pregnancy. They did, however, show signs indicating delivery, such as stretch movements, vaginal bleeding and/or excretion of mucus within 23 days of gestation. Oxytocin infusion (2 mu./min) for 2–4 h increased uterine contractions in the pelvic-neurectomized rats but failed to reduce the percentage of still-births or the duration of delivery. Immuno-neutralization of circulating oxytocin by anti-oxytocin serum in intact pregnant rats resulted in a significant but much smaller prolongation of the duration of delivery compared with that observed in pelvic-neurectomized rats. The rise in blood levels of oxytocin during pregnancy may be induced, at least in part, by the Ferguson reflex via the pelvic nerve and may thus facilitate the process of delivery. A shortage of oxytocin secretion may not, however, be the main cause of the dystocia in pelvic-neurectomized rats.

J. Endocr. (1986) 109,149–154


Society for Endocrinology

Sept 2018 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 116 53 16
Full Text Views 71 0 0
PDF Downloads 46 0 0