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Q J Exp Physiol Cogn Med Sci. 1978 Jul;63(3):211-9.

Pituitary stalk-section and some of its effects on endocrine function in the fetal lamb.


A detailed description is given of a method to section the pituitary stalk of the fetal lamb after 105 days gestational age. The approach to the stalk is made through a window in the frontal bone. In order to prevent regeneration of the hypothalamo-pituitary connections a silicone plate is introduced through the probe used to fracture the stalk. The surgical outcome and viability of 11 pituitary stalk sectioned fetuses is described over periods of up to 23 days. The presence of pituitary infarction following stalk section was related to damage of the anterior hypophysial vesssels if the probe was deviated from the mid-line at any time in its course. The effect of this procedure on fetal plasma T4 and PRL concentrations and the initiation of premature labour by the continuous infusion of cortisol into the fetus is described.

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