Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma concentrations of oxytocin and vasopressin during parturition and vaginocervical stimulation in the sheep

Brain Research Bulletin
Keith M KendrickJ A Goode


Simultaneous blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were taken from conscious sheep before, during and after parturition. Concentrations of plasma and CSF oxytocin were significantly elevated during contractions and particularly at birth. Mean prepartum CSF concentrations of oxytocin were around 55% of those found in plasma but postpartum they were up to 2-fold higher than those in plasma. Plasma concentrations of oxytocin were only significantly elevated, compared to prepartum levels, for 15 min postpartum whereas those in CSF were increased for the whole of the 120 min postpartum sampling period. Plasma, but not CSF, concentrations of arginine-vasopressin (AVP) were significantly raised during contractions and birth, and for 15 min postpartum. During the prepartum period CSF AVP concentrations were 67% of those found in plasma whereas at birth plasma levels were 10-fold higher than in CSF. In a separate experiment it was shown that 5 min of mechanical vaginocervical stimulation also stimulated significant increases in CSF and plasma oxytocin concentrations and in plasma vasopressin. Results support previous work suggesting an important role for central oxytocin release in the postpartum induction of maternal behavior and...Continue Reading


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