(1/3359) Phagocytic acitivity of bovine leukocytes during pregnancy.

The phagocytic competence, measured as the total number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes per mm3 which phagocytosed Staphylococcus aureus, strain 321, in vitro, was determined in eight cows during complete pregnancies. Such leukocytes are referred to as "Active PMN'S". There was a gradual decline in the number of these cells from conception to a minimum between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, followed by a steady increase to the cessation of lactation when a marked drop occurred, after which there was an increase to a maximun during the second week prepartum. From this maximum there was a rapid decrease to an absolute minimum during the first week after parturition. From the second week postpartum there was a gradual increase to conception. The correlation coefficient (r) of number of active PMN'S with time before conception was -0.474 )p-0.01). There were significant differences (p=0.01) in numbers of active PMNS Among the eight cows. It was found that the cows fell into two groups, one whose members had, overall, significantly more active PMNs (p=0.001) than those in the second group. The between cow differences may have been due to 1) age, since the cows with the highest numbers of circulating active PMNs were younger than those in the other group of 2) the combined stress of pregnancy and lactation, as those cows which were both pregnant and milking had the lowest numbers of active PMNs.  (+info)

(2/3359) Expression of the oxytocin receptor in relation to steroid receptors in the uterus of a primate model, the marmoset monkey.

The dynamics of the receptors for oestrogen (ER), progesterone (PR) and oxytocin (OTR) in the marmoset uterus have been analysed throughout the entire cycle and early pregnancy. Uteri obtained during the early, mid/late and late proliferative phase, and the early, mid and late secretory phase and early pregnancy were examined by immunohistochemistry (OTR, ER, PR) and autoradiography (OTR). A massive upregulation of the ER in the cell nuclei of glandular epithelium and stromal cells during the mid proliferative phase was succeeded by a declining staining intensity and positively stained cell number in the secretory phase. PR immunoreactivity increased in the late proliferative phase and early secretory phase, mainly within the cell nuclei, and then declined in both intensity and cell number towards the mid to late secretory phase. Myometrium showed a similar staining pattern for the steroid receptors. OTR were expressed weakly in stroma throughout the entire cycle, increasing slightly in the secretory phase. Glandular epithelium showed positive staining only during the periovulatory period. Myometrial OTR expression was weak during the proliferative phase, increased towards the secretory phase, and was maximal in the late secretory phase. Myometrial tissue adjacent to endometrium was most strongly stained. A cyclic shift evidently occurred in the pattern of steroid receptors, perhaps reflecting the steroid environment or the luteinizing hormone increase associated with ovulation.  (+info)

(3/3359) Control and assessment of the uterus and cervix during pregnancy and labour.

Preterm labour and resultant preterm birth are the most important problems in perinatology. Countless efforts have failed to establish a single effective treatment of preterm labour, partly because the mechanisms regulating the uterus and cervix during pregnancy are not well understood. New knowledge is needed to inhibit early progression of labour (uterine contractility and cervical ripening), and adequate quantitative tools to evaluate the uterus and cervix during pregnancy are lacking. In this review, we outline studies showing that the uterus (myometrium) and cervix pass through a conditioning step in preparation for labour. This step is not easily identifiable with present methods to assess the uterus or cervix. In the uterus, this seemingly irreversible step consists of changes in the electrical properties to make muscle more excitable and responsive to produce forceful contractions. In the cervix, the step consists of softening of the connective tissue components. Progesterone appears to have a dominant role in controlling both the uterus and cervix, as antiprogestins induce early, preterm conditioning leading to preterm labour. Apparently, nitric oxide (NO) also controls conditioning of the uterus and cervix. In the uterus, NO, in concert with progesterone, inhibits uterine contractility. At term, NO production by the uterus and placenta are decreased and allow labour to progress. In contrast, NO in the cervix increases at the end of pregnancy and it may be the final pathway for stimulating cervical ripening by activation of metalloenzymes. The progress of labour can be assessed non-invasively using electromyographic (EMG) signals from the uterus (the driving force for contractility) recorded from the abdominal surface. Uterine EMG bursts detected in this manner characterize uterine contractile events during human and animal pregnancy. A low uterine EMG activity, measured transabdominally throughout most of pregnancy, rises dramatically during labour. EMG activity also increases substantially during preterm labour in humans and rats. This method may be used one day to predict impending preterm labour and identify control steps and treatments. A quantitative method also assesses the cervix, using an optical device which measures collagen fluorescence in the cervix. The collascope estimates cervical collagen content from a fluorescent signal generated when collagen cross-links are illuminated with excitation light of about 340 nm. The system has proved useful in rats and humans at various stages of pregnancy, and indicates that cervical softening occurs progressively in the last one-third of pregnancy. In rats, collascope readings correlate with resistance measurements made in the isolated cervix, which may help to assess cervical function during pregnancy, and indicate control and treatments.  (+info)

(4/3359) A method for determining baroreflex-mediated sympathetic and parasympathetic control of the heart in pregnant and non-pregnant sheep.

1. The cardiac baroreflex was measured in four non-pregnant and six pregnant ewes before and during beta-adrenoreceptor blockade with propranolol and before and during vagal blockade with atropine. Arterial pressure was raised by phenylephrine and lowered by sodium nitroprusside. The relationships between mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR), between MAP and heart rate variability (HRV) measured as the coefficient of variation (c.v.) of the mean pulse interval (PI), and between MAP and HRV measured by power spectral analysis were determined. 2. The MAP-HR relationship showed that in pregnant ewes the gain of the cardiac baroreflex was reduced when compared with non-pregnant ewes. Threshold and saturation pressures were higher, maximum achievable HR was lower and there was a decrease in the operating range. 3. V-shaped relationships were obtained between MAP and HRV (measured as the c.v. of PI) and between MAP and power spectral density in the frequency range 0.04-0. 08 Hz. Using selective autonomic blockade the negative, or downward, slope of the V shape was shown to be a measure of baroreceptor-induced, sympathetically mediated effects on HRV. The upward, or positive, slope of the V shape was a measure of baroreceptor-induced, vagally mediated effects. Similar results were also obtained from the cardiac power spectrum, but it was less sensitive. The MAP at which the two slopes intersected was the same as the resting MAP. 4. In pregnant ewes, the slope of the downward limb of the V-shaped relationship between HRV (when measured as the c.v. of PI) and MAP was less than in non-pregnant ewes. 5. The relationship between MAP and the coefficient of variation of the mean pulse interval can therefore be used to measure the degree to which baroreceptor-induced sympathetic and parasympathetic activity affects the heart. 6. The resting MAP is the pressure at which the net effect of these sympathetic and parasympathetic influences on the heart is at a minimum. Studies of both the MAP-HR and MAP-HRV relationships in pregnant and non-pregnant sheep show that in pregnant sheep, there is attenuation of baroreceptor-mediated sympathetic effects on the heart.  (+info)

(5/3359) Pregnancy detection and the effects of age, body weight, and previous reproductive performance on pregnancy status and weaning rates of farmed fallow deer (Dama dama).

Fallow does (n = 502) of different ages (mature, 2-yr-old, and yearling) were maintained with bucks for a 60-d breeding season to determine whether previous reproductive performance and changes in BW affect doe pregnancy rates and to compare the effectiveness of ultrasonography and serum pregnancy-specific protein B (PSPB) for the detection of pregnancy in fallow does. Ultrasonography was performed, blood samples collected, and BW recorded at buck removal (d 0) and at 30 and 90 d after buck removal. Lactational status (lactating = WET; nonlactating = DRY) were determined from farm records taken at weaning prior to each breeding season (autumn 1990 through autumn 1994). Ultrasonography and PSPB for determining pregnancy were in agreement 93% of the time. Overall pregnancy rates did not differ (P>.10) relative to age of the doe; the combined pregnancy rate was 92%. We also determined that 82.9% of does conceived early in the breeding season and that the incidence of embryonal-fetal mortality during the first 90 d after buck removal was 2.8%. In general, mature and 2-yr-old DRY does were heavier and had lower pregnancy rates than WET does. The overall weaning rate for all does was 77.9%. Loss in the number of fawns from pregnancy detection to weaning was equivalent to 14.8% for mature does, 24.7% for 2 yr old does, and 42.5% for yearling does. These data indicate that even though pregnancy rates were relatively high, further study is needed to determine the causes associated with subsequent fawn losses, particularly among yearling does. As a production tool, lactational WET/ DRY status testing was found to be an acceptable means for determining the reproductive potential of individual does within the herd. In addition, serum PSPB may be used in place of ultrasonography for pregnancy diagnosis in fallow deer as early as d 30 after buck removal.  (+info)

(6/3359) An estimation of the requirement for folic acid in gestating sows: the metabolic utilization of folates as a criterion of measurement.

Sows at their second parity were randomly distributed in five groups of seven animals each to determine the dietary concentration of folic acid that optimizes the metabolic utilization of the vitamin during gestation. The groups differed by dietary supplement of folic acid: 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 ppm. Sows were fed 2.5 kg of diet each day. The response of serum folates and folate binding capacity to treatments and the excretion of urinary folates after an i.v. injection of folic acid were measured. The total daily excretion of urinary folates was corrected according to the response to one i.v. injection of saline on the day preceding the i.v. injection of folic acid. The decrease of total serum folates throughout gestation was less pronounced in the groups fed 15 and 20 ppm of dietary folic acid (supplement x period interaction, P<.06) than it was in the other three treatments. The proportion of i.v. folic acid not recovered in sow urine (injected - excreted) decreased as the amount of dietary folic acid increased to reach a minimum, which differed according to the period (supplement x period interaction, P<.02); it was 15 ppm during wk 1 of gestation and 10 ppm for the other periods studied. The unrecovered folates increased over a dietary concentration of 15 ppm. These minimum values correspond to the most appropriate feed concentration that covered the whole body utilization (tissue and cell metabolism, catabolism, and storage) of folates by the sows and could be interpreted as a reliable index of the requirement.  (+info)

(7/3359) Metabolism of retinaldehyde isomers in pregnant rats: 13-cis- and all-trans-retinaldehyde, but not 9-cis-retinaldehyde, yield very similar patterns of retinoid metabolites.

Retinaldehyde (RAL), a key intermediate in retinoid metabolism, acts as a retinoic acid (RA) precursor, but is also reduced to retinol (ROH), which can subsequently be esterified to retinyl esters, the storage form of vitamin A. Limited information is available on the metabolism of geometric isomers of RAL as well as on the transplacental distribution of their metabolites, including RA isomers. Such information would be very helpful for the assessment of the teratogenic potency of RAL isomers, as teratogenesis represents a major side effect of retinoid use in pharmacotherapy. In the present study we examined concentrations of retinoids in plasma, maternal tissues, and embryos of pregnant rats 2 h after a single oral dose (100 mg/kg body weight) of all-trans-, 13-cis-, or 9-cis-RAL on gestational day 13. The main findings of this study were the very similar patterns of retinoid metabolites (consisting of retinoids with mainly the all-trans-configuration) after administration of all-trans- and 13-cis-RAL, and the high concentrations of 9-cis-RA, 9,13-dicis-RA, and 9-cis-retinoyl-beta-D-glucuronide after dosing with 9-cis-RAL. In addition, all-trans-RA as a RAL metabolite reached the embryos to a much greater extent than any of its cis-isomers. The results are discussed in view of in vitro data on enzymes involved in the biotransformation of RAL isomers.  (+info)

(8/3359) Hemodynamic and renal effects of U-46619, a TXA2/PGH2 analog, in late-pregnant rats.

The vasoconstrictor effects of pressor agents are attenuated during pregnancy. Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) is produced in great quantities during hypertension in pregnancy, and therefore it is important to know whether pregnancy modifies the pressor effects of TXA2. The TXA2 analog U-46619 was infused in anesthetized, acutely prepared and conscious, chronically prepared late-pregnant and nonpregnant female rats to examine its systemic hemodynamic and renal effects. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) and total peripheral resistance (TPR) were lower in anesthetized pregnant than nonpregnant rats (P < 0.01). The infusion of U-46619 into the aortic arch resulted in elevation of MAP only in pregnant rats, due to a greater elevation of TPR (60 +/- 17%) compared with nonpregnant rats (36 +/- 6%, P < 0.05). The pressor effect of intravenously infused U-46619 was also enhanced in conscious pregnant versus nonpregnant rats, and the increase in renal vascular resistance was undiminished. U-46619 increased hematocrit and plasma protein concentration more during pregnancy, which suggested greater reduction of plasma volume. The urinary excretion of sodium (-1.49 +/- 0.25 vs. -0.54 +/- 0.24 micromol/min) and water was reduced more in pregnant than nonpregnant rats during U-46619 (P < 0.01). Thus the MAP and renal effects of the TXA2 analog are exaggerated during pregnancy in the rat.  (+info)