Oxytocin plays an important role at parturition due to its involvement in uterine contractions, foetal expulsion and the onset of maternal behaviour. The role of the related neurohypophysial hormone, vasopressin, is less clear; however, there is some evidence that it is also involved in maternal behaviour and its role in osmotic regulation is well established. The aim of this study was to investigate the inhibitory effects of endogenous opioids on these hormones during the expulsive phase of parturition in the pig, and to examine how opioid restraint interacts with environmental restriction. The subjects of this study were 31 Large Whitex Landrace primiparous sows (gilts). An indwelling jugular catheter was implanted under general anaesthesia at 12 days before the expected parturition day (EPD). From 5 days before the EPD 15 of the gilts were individually housed in a restrictive parturition crate without straw and 16 were individually housed in a straw-bedded pen. Blood samples were taken with increasing frequency towards and during parturition through a catheter extension to reduce disturbance. At 7.5 min after the birth of the first piglet half of the gilts in each environment received a dose of the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone (1 mg/kg, i.v.) with the remaining gilts receiving saline as a control. Overall, there was no effect of environment on either circulating oxytocin or vasopressin. However, both oxytocin and vasopressin were inhibited by endogenous opioids during the expulsive phase. The inhibitory effects of opioids on these hormones did not appear to have any adverse effects on the progress of parturition as judged by cumulative piglet birth intervals. The regulation of the opioid inhibition of oxytocin and vasopressin during parturition is discussed in relation to other neurotransmitters and whether opioid inhibition of these neurohypophysial hormones is part of the 'normal' physiological response to parturition or whether it is stress-induced.
S Jarvis, AB Lawrence, KA McLean, J Chirnside, LA Deans, SK Calvert, CL Gilbert, JA Goode and ML Forsling
Kazunari Nohara, Suhuan Liu, Matthew S Meyers, Aurélie Waget, Mathieu Ferron, Gérard Karsenty, Rémy Burcelin and Franck Mauvais-Jarvis
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common endocrine disorder in females of reproductive age and is believed to have a developmental origin in which gestational androgenization programs reproductive and metabolic abnormalities in offspring. During gestation, both male and female fetuses are exposed to potential androgen excess. In this study, we determined the consequences of developmental androgenization in male mice exposed to neonatal testosterone (NTM). Adult NTM displayed hypogonadotropic hypogonadism with decreased serum testosterone and gonadotropin concentrations. Hypothalamic KiSS1 neurons are believed to be critical to the onset of puberty and are the target of leptin. Adult NTM exhibited lower hypothalamic Kiss1 expression and a failure of leptin to upregulate Kiss1 expression. NTM displayed an early reduction in lean mass, decreased locomotor activity, and decreased energy expenditure. They displayed a delayed increase in subcutaneous white adipose tissue amounts. Thus, excessive neonatal androgenization disrupts reproduction and energy homeostasis and predisposes to hypogonadism and obesity in adult male mice.