Parturition in sheep is initiated by the fetus and is preceded by a rise in fetal cortisol and corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) late in gestation. In this study plasma cortisol and CBG concentrations were measured in fetal and maternal circulation from 40 days gestation to early post-partum. The fetal cortisol profile was shown to be triphasic in nature; being high in both the first and last trimester but low in the middle period of gestation. In the last trimester, total cortisol increased steadily, reaching it's highest level just prior to parturition (145 days gestation), before falling to maternal levels over the first 10 days postpartum. The changes seen in CBG concentrations throughout gestation and post-partum mirrored the triphasic nature seen in cortisol levels. CBG was significantly higher at 40, 56 and 140 days gestation than at mid-gestation (77 and 90 days). However, at 145 days gestation there was a significant fall in CBG levels. CBG levels were higher at 1 day post-partum when compared to 145; days gestation, the former rapidly falling to maternal levels over the subsequent 9 days. The maximum binding capacity at 40, 56, 70 and 90 days gestation exceeds the total serum cortisol concentration. However at 140 and 145 days gestation and 1 day post-partum the total serum cortisol exceeds the B(max) The highest cortisol:B(max) ratio is seen at 145 days gestation due to the fall of CBG binding capacity at this time. While there is an increase in total serum protein over the last trimester, the percentage increase in CBG is much greater than the increase in total serum protein (125.4% and 63.6%, respectively). The data presented support a more active role for CBG in the regulation of steroid hormone availability both early and late in gestation.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Developmental Physiology|
|Publication status||Published - 1992|