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S Deloof, V Montel and A Chatelain

Deloof S, Montel V, Chatelain A. Effects of rat corticotrophin-releasing factor, arginine vasopressin and oxytocin on the secretions of adrenocorticotrophic hormone and corticosterone in the fetal rat in late gestation: in vivo and in vitro studies. Eur J Endocrinol 1994;130:313–19. ISSN 0804–4643

The effects of rat corticotrophin-releasing factor (rCRF), arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) were investigated in vivo in 21 -day-old rat fetuses injected through the umbilical vein and in vitro on perifused anterior pituitary glands from 21-day-old rat fetuses. In vivo, rCRF (1.25 pmol • 50 μl−1 • fetus−1), AVP (5 pmol • 50 μl−1 •fetus−1) alone and rCRF in association with AVP or oxytocin (12.5 pmol • 50 μl−1 • fetus−1) increased plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and corticosterone levels only 30 min after the start of injection. During the first 10 min of the sampling period, the injection of these peptides alone or in combination and the injection of saline decreased the plasma ACTH concentration, which was lower than that of uninjected fetuses, but had no effect on the plasma corticosterone concentration. In vitro, the release of ACTH by perifused anterior pituitary glands was increased strongly by rCRF (4 pmol/0.5 ml) but only slightly by AVP (92 pmol/0.5 ml) and oxytocin (198 pmol/0.5 ml). Arginine vasopressin and oxytoxin potentiated the release of ACTH stimulated by rCRF in vitro but not in vivo. Our results suggest that rCRF is the major peptide that controls ACTH secretion in the fetal rat at term. In conclusion, the rise of the ACTH level observed only 30 min after injection of rCRF or AVP suggests the existence of a factor able to inhibit the ACTH response after injection of these peptides. This factor might be elicited by the blood volume expansion.

A Chatelain, Laboratoire de Neuroendocrinologie du Développement, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, Bâtiment SN4, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq cédex, France

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S Deloof, C De Seze, V Montel and A Chatelain

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed at determining, in the term pregnant rat, whether maternal and fetal plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) concentrations were modified in response to an oral sodium load, and to investigate whether any changes in plasma concentrations were able to modify the density and affinity of the different ANP-binding site subtypes in maternal and fetal kidneys and adrenal glands. METHODS: Pregnant rats kept in metabolic cages were divided into two groups. The normal sodium diet group had free access to rat chow and tap water whereas the high sodium diet group received 1% NaCl as drinking water for 10 consecutive days from day 11 to day 21 of gestation with free access to standard rat chow. Pregnant rats from both groups were killed by decapitation on day 21 of gestation. The plasma ANP and aldosterone concentrations were determined by RIA. The density and affinity of ANP receptors were determined in the maternal and fetal adrenal glands and kidneys. RESULTS: In the pregnant rats on the high-salt diet, the sodium and water intakes, as well as the urine volume and sodium excretion, were significantly higher than in the control group. After 10 days of high-salt intake, water and sodium retentions were not significantly different in the two groups, indicating that the pregnant rats were able to excrete excess salt. The high sodium intake did not change the body weight of the pregnant rats but did increase the body weight of the fetal rats. Maternal and fetal hematocrits remained unchanged in both groups, the high sodium intake did not modify plasma sodium concentration in the maternal rats but increased that of the fetuses, indicating an accumulation of sodium in the fetal rats. The dietary sodium intake did not change the plasma ANP concentrations but significantly decreased the plasma aldosterone concentrations in both the maternal and fetal rats. In response to the high-salt diet, the density and affinity of total ANP, ANPb and ANPc receptors were not altered in the maternal isolated renal glomeruli or the adrenal zona glomerulosa membranes or the fetal adrenal gland and kidney membrane preparations. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that ANP is not involved in the regulation of water and electrolyte balance in maternal and fetal rats during salt-loaded intake.

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J Lesage, F Bernet, V Montel and JP Dupouy

OBJECTIVE: The first aim of the present study was to determine if morphine, a prototypic mu-opioid agonist drug, affects pituitary-adrenocortical activity in developing rat pups (first and second weeks of postnatal life). The second aim of this study was to explore, in vivo, if nitric oxide (NO) could be involved in the neurohormonal response to morphine in the early stages of postnatal life. METHODS: Plasma ACTH and corticosterone concentrations were determined by RIA in rat pups (n=5-14 rats/experimental group) after they had been killed by decapitation. In a first experiment, 1-day and 1- and 2-week-old rats were treated s.c. with morphine (20 mg/kg) or with vehicle (0.9% NaCl) and killed 5-90 min later. In a second experiment, 2-week-old pups were pretreated s.c. with naltrexone (NAL; 0.4 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg), and injected 1 h later with either morphine (20 mg/kg) or vehicle, and killed 30 min later. Some pups injected with only NAL were killed 60 or 90 min later. On the other hand, pups injected with NAL (10 mg/kg) or NAL and morphine were killed 30 min later. In a third experiment, 2-week-old pups were pretreated s.c. with N-omega-nitro l arginine methyl-ester (L-NAME; 30 mg/kg or 100 mg/kg), and injected 1 h later with either morphine (20 mg/kg) or vehicle, and killed 30 min later. Moreover, some pups injected with L-NAME (100 mg/kg) or L-NAME with morphine were killed 30 min later. In a final experiment, pups were injected s.c. with either S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP; 5 mg/kg) or vehicle, and killed 60 or 90 min later. RESULTS: Morphine administered to rat pups elicited marked rises in both ACTH and corticosterone secretion. Moreover, these responses increased with advancing postnatal age. In 2-week-old rat pups, NAL, a competitive antagonist at mu-opioid receptors, administered alone increased both plasma ACTH and corticosterone concentrations 30 min later. L-NAME, a specific NO synthase inhibitor, did not affect plasma ACTH and corticosterone concentrations 30 min later when administered alone. NAL, when concomitantly administered with morphine, was unable to block morphine responses. In contrast, morphine responses were blocked by pretreatment (60 min before) with NAL or with L-NAME. Acute injection of SNAP increased both ACTH and corticosterone release. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that opioids have controversial effects on pituitary-adrenocortical activity in the early postnatal period in the rat, and that endogenous NO is one of the major factors in the response of the pituitary-adrenocortical axis to morphine.

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S Deloof, C De Seze, V Montel and A Chatelain

The effects of water deprivation for 3 days were studied in pregnant rats and their fetuses on day 21 of gestation. Maternal water deprivation induced a significant decrease of the body weight in both maternal and fetal rats. This weight loss was accompanied by significant increases in plasma osmolality and haematocrit in both maternal and fetal rats. Similarly, dehydration significantly decreased plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) concentrations and increased plasma aldosterone concentrations in maternal and fetal rats. Water-deprived maternal rats presented a significant increase in total ANP receptor density in isolated renal glomeruli and adrenal zona glomerulosa membranes. This increase was due to a significant increase in ANPc receptor density in both renal glomeruli and adrenal zona glomerulosa. The densities of total ANP, ANPb and ANPc receptors in fetal kidneys and adrenal glands were not affected by maternal dehydration. These results suggest that the dehydrated maternal rat is able to up-regulate the number of its ANP receptors in its kidneys and adrenal glands, in response to a decrease in plasma ANP concentrations. In contrast, the fetal rat does not seem to be able to regulate its own ANP receptors in response to maternal dehydration, in spite of a decrease in plasma ANP concentrations.