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The role of arginine vasopressin in human labour: functional studies, fetal production and localisation of V-1a receptor mRNA

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sally Thornton, Fiona Harding, Emeritus Professor John Davison, Professor Peter Baylis


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Objective To investigate labour-associated changes in: 1. the myometrial contractile response to arginine vasopressin compared with oxytocin in vitro 2. fetal production of arginine vasopressin and 3. myometrial vasopressin Via receptor mRNA. Design The contractile response to vasopressin (compared with oxytocin) was investigated in paired myometrial strips in vitro. Blood was taken from the umbilical artery and vein at delivery and arginine vasopressin measured by radio-immunoassay. V-1a receptor mRNA was determined by in situ hybridisation. Results Myometrium was more sensitive to arginine vasopressin than oxytocin (P<0.05 for frequency, amplitude and activity integral in paired strips) after, but not before labour. There was a marked umbilical arteriovenous difference in arginine vasopressin concentration at delivery suggesting fetal production which was not influenced by labour. Myometrial vasopressin V-1a receptor mRNA was not increased after the onset of labour. Conclusions The human uterus is extremely sensitive to arginine vasopressin in vitro. Arginine vasopressin is produced by the fetus but fetal formation is not increased during labour.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thornton S, Baldwin PJ, Harris PA, Harding F, Davison JM, Baylis PH, Timmons PM, Wathes DC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BJOG

Year: 2002

Volume: 109

Issue: 1

Pages: 57-62

ISSN (print): 1470-0328

ISSN (electronic): 1471-0528

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01132.x


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