Plasma samples obtained at 4-h intervals from goats for at least 24 h before and then during 24 h of deprivation of water were analysed by radioimmunoassay for vasopressin and oxytocin concentrations. The samples were also analysed for osmolality and sodium concentration. The differential effect of night/day versus day/night deprivation was also studied. During the two periods before the two deprivations osmolality varied in a regular manner, with low values occurring at 08.00 h. Sodium concentration followed osmolality, whereas vasopressin did not vary during the period before deprivation. During deprivation vasopressin increased along with osmolality and sodium concentration, with the beginning of the increase occurring after the morning feed. Oxytocin levels did not increase during the period of deprivation.
These results do not support the hypothesis of general release of neurohypophysial hormones in response to osmotic stimuli but instead indicate there are species variations with respect to hormonal response to water deprivation.