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Effects of naloxone on the breathing, electrocortical, heart rate, glucose and cortisol responses to hypoxia in the sheep fetus

, : Effects of naloxone on the breathing, electrocortical, heart rate, glucose and cortisol responses to hypoxia in the sheep fetus. Journal of Developmental Physiology 6(6): 495-507

Continuous infusions of naloxone HC1 (0.5 mg/kg or 3.8 mg/kg) or saline were given intravenously to fetal sheep at 119 to 137 days of gestation during a one hour period of air administration and a one hour period of hypoxia induced by having ewes breathe 9% O2, 3% CO2 and 88% N2. Fetal carotid PaO2 fell to 13.0 +/- 0.5 mmHg during hypoxia with no change in pH. During hypoxia, plasma cortisol concentration increased significantly more in naloxone-infused fetuses than controls. Ewes, whose fetuses received naloxone, showed a significant increase in cortisol during hypoxia whereas no increase was observed in controls. There were no significant differences between saline and naloxone-infused fetuses during hypoxia in fetal breathing incidence, amplitude, frequency, number of deep inspiratory efforts per hour, heart rate, electrocortical activity or in the rise in plasma glucose caused by hypoxia. Results suggest that endogenous opiates may have a role in modulating cortisol production in the ewe and fetus during hypoxia but do not have a role in mediating the decrease in incidence of breathing activity or rise in plasma glucose. During air administration, naloxone significantly increased fetal breath amplitude, fetal and maternal plasma glucose, fetal heart rate, and the number of electrocortical changes per hour. This suggests endogenous opiates may have a more important role in the normoxic pregnant ewe and fetus.


PMID: 6441819

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