The effects of prostacyclin and thromboxane analogue (U46619) on the fetal circulation and umbilical flow velocity waveforms

B. J. Trudinger, A. J. Connelly, W. B. Giles, J. R. S. Hales, G. R. Wilcox

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In placental insufficiency and pre-eclampsia the relative production rates of prostacyclin and thromboxane by the placenta and umbilical vessels are altered and the Doppler umbilical flow velocity waveform shows a high resistance pattern. To investigate the control of umbilical placental blood flow by those eicosanoids either prostacyclin (10 micrograms/min), or the thromboxane analogue U46619 (10 ng/min) was infused into the distal aorta of 12 chronically catheterized fetal lambs at day 125. Thromboxane produced a rise in mean arterial pressure and a rise in the systolic diastolic ratio of the umbilical artery flow waveform (2.6 to 3.1; P less than 0.05). Umbilical blood flow did not change and there was no evidence of altered flow to other organs. Prostacyclin caused a fall in fetal mean arterial pressure and a decrease in the umbilical artery systolic diastolic ratio (2.9 to 2.4; P less than 0.05). Prostacyclin produced a three-fold increase in lung perfusion (and the onset of fetal breathing movements) and this was associated with a 90% reduction in muscle blood flow (hindlimb muscle flow reduced from 12.5 to 1.1 ml.min-1 100g-1; P less than 0.01). We conclude that the local release of thromboxane in the fetal placental vascular bed could account for the rise in systolic diastolic ratio seen in umbilical placental insufficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Developmental Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1989
Externally publishedYes

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